Pundit Wire
  • tom

    Wow this is the most racist bull shit I’ve ever read!

    Maybe it’s just as simple that most white males were raised with old school conservative values… Making this an ethnic or racial issue is like pouring gas on a bonfire.

    You went full retard.

  • Rich7553

    I’m sure gun-owner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would take issue with the overt racist message of this article. You should be ashamed.

  • skspls

    That’s the biggest load of garbage I’ve read in a long time.

  • TomEGunn

    Maybe we are the only ones who give a crap about the rights of * ALL *Americans, black, white ,yellow, red, whatever, it is our right as honest citizens to “Keep and bear arms”.

  • Ken Watters

    How do you explain people like Chris Cheng (gay, Asian and winner of Top Shot) or Emily Miller, just to name two? Seems like your logic or stereotype or whatever has a few holes in it… Maybe you make stuff up, like some other liberal elites?

  • Rick Bonenfant

    How about acknowledging who commits more crime with guns. After all who cares about the race of LEGAL gun owners?

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/43tabledatadecoverviewpdf

  • liquidflorian

    So, you’ve never heard of Colion Nior?

  • David Atherton

    White middle aged men who own firearms, fight for ALL Constitutional rights for ALL people. The gun grabbers, which are almost exclusively liberal progressives, are the ones who dissect society into smaller, more easily controlled groups and then determine which rights those individual groups are entitled to. The very thought of an individual being responsible for his or her own actions and demanding that they be allowed to live their own lives as they see fit is beyond the grasp of the liberal mind.

  • David Loeffler

    Interesting. I’d say about 80% of my customers in the last few years, since I opened, are in their 20′s or 30′s. About 40% are women. The industry research looks like I’m following the national norm. Your premise lacks credibility for some reason.

  • slingeronline

    Aren’t you cute. Didn’t know my wife was a man…. (I own two, she owns seven.)

  • ElmoS

    I have one thing to say about this article, its a bunch of crap. I refuse to be a victim and it doesn’t make any difference how many guns I own. Either uphold the Bill of Rights and The Constitution or shut up. If you have a problem with the wording of these articles, try and change them, but be prepared for a battle you will not win.

  • Jdberger

    …and the author reveals himself as a bigot. A self-hating bigot, but a bigot all the same. Res ipsa….

  • Matt Davis

    Wow how biased. I own guns, won’t disclose how many. I don’t identify with any of the soldier or “manly” advertising. I find most firearm commercials to be comical or annoying. Including, what is at least 30% of the ads, which are aimed at women. Though I support Daniel Defense’s right to advertise, their ads are awful. I don’t like the image it paints of gun owners. But these ads are effective at selling guns to people that are typecast as you describe above.

    These men you speak of in your article are a MINORITY. Most of us don’t want difference, we want indifference. We want the public to be familiar with firearms and except their presence. We don’t wear gun shirts and display NRA stickers to induce fear or control, but to promote our 2nd amendment and show that most Americans are pro-gun. We don’t open carry to cause trouble or scare people. That would do the exact opposite of what most of us are after. We want to be seen carrying in gun friendly places, and maybe have someone alerted by this bring it up to a friend or police officer, but be politely educated by that friend or LEO that it is legal and safe. Most of us understand it is counter-intuitive to walk into a daycare carrying an AR-15 and declaring to the world it’s our right to open carry.

    These “men” you speak of, as gun owners we run into them. They are usually first time gun owners, usually young. Some are refereed to as “Mall Ninjas”. Most are under-educated on firearms and were allured to the “cool” factor. Some gun owners I know started out as this type of gun owner, but they eventually snap out of it, or the bore of it and keep the gun for a conversation piece. There are bad gun owners just as there are bad parents.

    An organized, peaceful pro-gun demonstration is a good thing, unfortunately some enter with the wrong attitude at Starbucks and other locations. Again, these people are a minority

  • djstucrew

    Right off the bat, Steinhorn reveals himself a reverse-racist bigot. What difference does it make if the gun rights advocate is white? Obviously he hasn’t heard of Colion Noir. And why assume that anyone is upset with “sane” or “rational” laws? The problem is, most proposed gun control laws are neither. AND, rather than impacting crime, criminals, gangs and other perpetrators of gun crime, they impact the law abiding, white or otherwise.

    Something is obviously wrong with the Pew “research,” given that the number of guns in circulation since 2001 has increased by about 1/3rd, putting them at almost a 1:1 ratio with the number of Americans. To believe that the number of gun owning Americans has dropped would mean, after doing some quick back-of-the-envelope math, you’d also have to believe that the average remaining gun owner has purchased over 30 guns. And what about the reports about all of the women who are joining the ranks of gun owners? According to recent surveys, female gun ownership has jumped by some 17%.

    Saying that guns have become “totems of manhood and symbols of identity for a cohort of white, middle-American, rural and exurban men” is just another way to make a dick joke, the last resort of a poor argument. The reality: even though gun ownership may be higher in rural areas, where is the CRIME happening? And if the world is so dangerous, doesn’t that JUSTIFY the ownership of guns for self-defense as opposed to hunting/recreational use? Logic, Mr. Steinhorn; check into it.

    And spare us the revisionist history. Anyone who has taken more than a passive look at the issue understands that the first “gun control” laws were aimed at blacks in an effort to keep them disarmed. THAT is where the racism lies. Indeed, there is a valid power and status angle here: a person disarmed by a misguided law is powerless against an armed criminal and their status is “dependent” upon the state to protect them. They are no longer free men, but subjects (or, to criminals, prey), whose rights depend not on their own actions, but those of criminals and miscreants.

    Mr. Steinhorn may be in a rush to divest himself of the right to defend his own life and/or that of his loved ones, but he cannot do so and leave the rest of us alone. No, he’s got to make it about race, power and the size of our dicks in order to “slut shame” us into giving up our rights along with him. Sorry, but that’s his brain damage, not reality.

    • professorpublius

      “Saying that guns have become ‘totems of manhood and symbols of identity for a cohort of white, middle-American, rural and exurban men’ is just another way to make a dick joke, the last resort of a poor argument.”

      “No, he’s got to make it about race, power and the size of our dicks …”

      Fascinating you would read this “size” issue into Steinhorn’s article and say it twice. It says more about you than it does about his article, and if you are at all emblematic of the people he writes about, it makes his analysis all the more convincing.

      • djstucrew

        Yes, it does. It tells you that I’ve seen this overused, hackneyed, idiotic comparison many times before; it’s a not-so-artful dodge away from fact and reason into ad hominem. If that makes it more convincing to you, then it says something about you: you’re easily duped.

        • professorpublius

          So because you are obsessed with the “size” issue, then therefore it appeared in the author’s article even though it didn’t, and therefore someone who doesn’t see it as you do is easily duped. Such logic, such brilliance, such insight.

          • djstucrew

            Well, read it again and tell me how my assessment has erred. I mean, it’s not exactly subtle, although I’ll give him credit for keeping it PC for the kiddies. I’m RESPONDING to the author, mind you, so it is not I with the “size issues.” My wife is happy and I’ve got references. :D

          • professorpublius

            Your response says far more than you likely intended.

            This article has nothing in it beyond guns and status anxiety. That you could read into it anything to do with the personal matters you cite is, at a minimum, quite revealing and entertaining. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

          • djstucrew

            So does yours… that you sidestep every other point to talk about a possible misunderstanding I took from the author’s references to “manliness.” Nice dodge.

          • professorpublius

            No, actually, what you read into the article is in many ways a confirmation of what the author appears to have intended. That people take this issue so deeply personally that it becomes far more about identity than about the many complex issues involved. To you, it’s about freedom and protection; to others, it’s about the proliferation of guns making them feel unsafe. To you, it’s about law-abiding citizens and their rights; to others, it’s about people who were once law-abiding but who then act in moments of passion or anger or irrational fear at someone else’s expense. Somehow our society needs to have a rational discussion about these conflicting perspectives. But we can’t have that when people take every proposal from one side as an attack on their very identity.

          • djstucrew

            Speaking of “reading in,” you’re so far off base that you don’t seem to recognize stereotyping when you’re staring it in the face. According to the author (and you, apparently), there are just two camps: the gun rights supporters who are fetishists and about “identity” because, you know, freedom, and the “reasonable” people who “just want a discussion” because they “feel unsafe.” That’s a myopic view.

            What about my gun group made up mostly of atheist Democrats? Or the Pink Pistols, a group of gay gun rights advocates who have correctly reasoned that it is better to be armed than dragged to death behind pickup trucks?

            The spectrum of gun rights supporters is just that: a spectrum, not just one gun strokin’ collective. I’ve been to several town hall meetings, summits and forums to “have a rational discussion,” and it always seems to me that the idea of the anti-gun perspective is that they do the discussing and the gun rights supporters just shut up and do as we’re told. All of the “solutions” come from THEIR side, and anything we say is laughed at. (While president Obama quietly initiates our policies later on.) I’m WAY more than willing to talk! I think there’s plenty that can be done to reduce violent crime and gun misuse. But nobody wants to hear that. They want to discuss how we’re fetishists and unreasonable and take things personally to belittle and dismiss us. Same story, different forum.

          • professorpublius

            Sure, of course there are various perspectives on the gun rights side, just as on the gun control side. But unless I’m missing something, mostly all of the victories have gone to the gun rights side and almost none to the gun control side. And as the gun rights side wins more, then even every trivial proposal on the gun control side is portrayed as a threat. Gun rights supporters have left very little room for the other side, and with rare exceptions almost every legislative victory at the national and most state levels have been for the NRA view. So it’s a fascinating projection to say that gun owners are told to “shut up and do as we’re told.” That’s never been an issue for gun owners. You also frame the issue as violent crime and gun misuse. Others see it as gun proliferation and the increasing lethality of firearms. So yes, offer proposals to address the issue the way you see it. But if the people who see it the other way are insulted and called names when they come up with what they and the majority of Americans see as reasonable proposals, then who’s really telling whom to “shut up and do as we’re told.”

            I actually think that all ideas should be welcomed and discussed without people taking them personally. Sure, there are some zealots on the gun control side. But they pale in numbers and intensity to those who see gun rights as more sacred than all the others.

            There’s an old saying: be careful what you wish for … you may get it. In a society awash in firearms, I fear for those whose lives are lost in the name of gun rights.

          • djstucrew

            Again, it’s all perspective, as I see way too many victories going to the gun control side. There is indeed a reason: because the gun control side’s focus is wrong. The whole idea that removing the gun will keep the violent from doing violent things is a bit bugnutty. It would be like outlawing video equipment to stop child pornography.

            As I said above, I think there’s plenty we can do, as long as we go into any dialogue with a clear, honest perspective, letting logic, fact and reason be the guide as opposed to the emotional arguments that rule the day.

            There are also many memes that have been scooped-up by the media at large that are meaningless or distracting. One of them you mentioned: the “increasing lethality of firearms.” That’s a myth. Today’s firearms are basically the same as they were in the 1960s. Sure, we may have slapped a laser sight on ‘em (making aim better) and optics have gotten better, but the bolt-hits-primer technology of old is still how guns operate. The so-called “high capacity” magazines everyone is wringing their hands over have existed since the ’40s, in some cases, and since the ’60s in the case of the AR-15. Oh, and this brings me to “assault weapon,” another meaningless term concocted for political purposes. It does NOT cover machine guns, but the other side never says that.

            I’m not into name calling or us vs. them mentality. We’re ALL concerned. We’re basically on the same side. We gun rights folks are often cast as the “them” in order to have someone to yell at, or to blame our rights for criminal abuses. (Which is exactly what criminals DO. Make a law; they break it.) If we can stop hollerin’ on both sides and get constructive, we could accomplish much.

            All ideas should be welcomed TO A POINT. We have a pretty good history to look back on, here, and empirical data we can consult. We can use this to winnow down the vast array of ideas that don’t work, so that we can focus on those that might. As is often said, repeating the same actions and expecting the same results is the definition of insanity. Let’s stop the insanity. Let’s break new ground.

            For instance, you’ll hear gun rights proponents talk about better mental health care. Most people assume we’re only talking about help for people like Adam Lanza or Jared Lee Loughner, but we’re also cognizant of the fact that more than half (about 61%) of all shooting deaths in the U.S. are suicides. Doesn’t this tell us that we need to focus here? I’ve been quite active in suicide prevention as of late, having lost one good friend and having a family member in rehab at the moment. As bad as our health care system is, the mental care system is even worse.

            This aside, the statistics show unequivocally that guns are used to save lives far more often than to take them (war aside). Anything we do, then, must not hinder what permits this lopsided benefit-to-cost ratio in our rush to clamp down on abuses, negligence and other causes of firearm deaths. No, it won’t be easy, but I think if we put our minds together, good things can happen.

          • professorpublius

            So we agree on something, the mental illness issue — good. And you’re right about something else, though it was my shorthand phrasing that wasn’t fully accurate but not my larger point. Guns themselves are not any more lethal than the state of the art firearms from five decades ago (with some refinements, of course). The difference is that millions of people now have these lethal guns, so they are more lethal in consequence because they are more available, which goes to my point about proliferation. Your argument is akin to saying that we shouldn’t discuss the social consequences of online behavior today because the Internet was invented a few decades ago. Or that we shouldn’t as a nation shouldn’t address
            NSA surveillance because the government has been spying on citizens for years.

            I know the “evidence” you cite that guns save more lives, but that has been debunked by serious scholars, and in fact there is far more evidence that guns claim more lives and do enormous damage than any self-protection benefit one gains from having a gun. What we have is a problem in which many innocent people are paying with their lives for the almost unlimited “right” claimed by the pro-gun extremists. That’s why society has to deal with it.

            I know that Australia is different from the US, but when they banned semi-automatics, instituted a buyback for high-powered rifles, and required registration and licensing, firearm homicides fell by 59 percent and suicides by 65 percent.

            As for saying that the gun control side has been winning, that’s hard to understand. There is no longer a ban on semi-automatics. The ATF is prohibited from creating a computerized central registry of gun transactions. Every state allows concealed carry. Open carry is gaining in many states. Gun owners can bring their firearms into bars and sports arenas in many states. There is no waiting period. Background checks on gun show purchases have been blocked. Yes, a few states — New York, Colorado and Maryland — have put some laws in place. But those victories are minor compared to the juggernaut against any gun laws that the NRA has created. So please tell me how your side has been losing.

          • djstucrew

            It seems we agree on something else: that more people own guns today than previously. This is not what the media and a much-touted (but totally hogwash) study proclaim. THEY say that gun ownership is down, but the crazy gun people are simply buying more. I did some back-of-the-envelope math and for them to be right, all gun owners would’ve had to buy, on average, about 30 guns each. Well, I know I haven’t! None of my shooting buddies have. And they conveniently leave out the huge increase (appx. 17%) of women who are new to gun ownership! Twain was right: “Lies, damned lies and statistics” — LOL!

            People making legal purchases are really not the problem. This is easily seen by simply paying attention. For the next month, note every shooting incident you read about in the papers or see/hear in electronic media. Note who the shooter is. Yes, once in a while it’ll be a regular guy who “snaps,” or has a gun go off by accident. But for every one of them, there are dozens of gang shootings, carjackings, drug deals gone bad and armed robberies. These are NOT angry bands of NRA members. They do not buy their guns through legal channels. They don’t flock to gun shows. And they don’t submit to background checks.

            Rather than worrying about how easy it is for a person with a clean record to buy a gun, why not demand a zero tolerance policy towards gangs? Let’s aim for the most aggregious targets.

            None of the studies showing benefit have been “debunked.” There IS a lot of differing opinion on the actual ratio! The gun unfriendly Clinton Justice Department concluded that “as much as 700,000″ defensive gun uses happened per year. Compared to gun crimes, and assuming the actual total is a bit less (let’s say, 650,000), then the ratio is 23:1. The study that is the most controversial, by Gary Kleck and others, showed 2.5 million DGUs, pushing the ratio up to 80:1. Significantly, NO STUDY to date suggests a negative ratio!

            Indeed, people are “paying with their lives,” but not because guns are around. It’s because we tolerate open organized crime combined with a tanked economy, fostering desperation, and a broken mental health care system. (We think the regular one is bad. Hoo, boy — it’s NOTHING in comparison!)

            The reason there’s no longer a ban on semi-automatics (a.k.a. “assault weapons”) is because we gave it a fair trial run — a full DECADE — and it was proven ineffective. So was the ban on magazines over 10 rds. The reason a registry is illegal is because it has NO crime prevention utility and has historically resulted in confiscation, as is now happening in New York. (The letters have gone out. Door-to-door confiscations begin sometime after the 1st of the year.) Open carry has not proven to be a problem. In my state of Michigan, it’s not that it was made legal, but was never made illegal. So far, there’s been no reason to ban the practice.

            If you have a CCW permit and are allowed to carry firearms into supermarkets, shopping malls and restaurants, why should bars and sports arenas — or ANYWHERE — be different? I know of NO state that permits one to carry a gun and drink. Again, my state’s requirements for BAL while carrying are even more strict than for driving. I used to play “designated driver” for some of my buddies who wanted to go drinking in exchange for dinner and all the pop I can drink.

            Waiting periods are an infringement! As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A right delayed is a right denied.” You might recall that, before the NICS instant check system, a waiting period was the law. You might also recall the many accounts of women, involved in rancorous divorce proceedings, being murdered by their abusive spouse while waiting for their self-defense rights to be granted. There’s really no good reason for them, especially since the average age of a recovered “crime gun” is about 6 years old.

            Where I’m with you is on background checks. Now, even at gun shows, where most of the sellers are licensed dealers, they must all conduct a check just as if they’re in their store. It’s only the private sellers that are not allowed access to NICS. I’m for changing this, allowing access by all sellers. This not only covers gun shows, but sales ANYWHERE, including over the back fence. But again, the devil is in the details. The sloppy, poorly written mess of a bill they tried to foist on us last time HAD to die. It was filled with hidden fees and rife with loopholes. I hope that they try again, maybe consulting with the NRA, or at least thinking the scheme through a whole lot better.

          • professorpublius

            Actually Twain attributes the quote to the 19th Century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. So your citation of “Lies, damned lies and statistics” may be off. And it’s emblematic of the other “facts” you cite.

            I looked at the Injury Prevention Journal study cited in the article, and your back of the envelope calculation is off by a bit. That and most other studies document that the percentage of households and individuals owning guns has declined over the years, and there are no surveys or studies that credibly contradict these findings. The journal study, published in 2007, says that 20 percent of gun owners possess about two-thirds of the nation’s guns, which means that this minority of gun owners averages about 15 guns apiece, which is not at all far-fetched. It also says that “almost half (48%) of all individual gun owners, corresponding to 13% of the US adult population, reported owning ⩾4 firearms.” That’s research, not back of the envelope calculations, and it’s supported by study after study from Pew, the General Social Survey, and even Gallup.

            As for shooting incidents, the homicide table in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (2011) shows that the one category with the most gun-related murders is not drug or gang related but rather arguments. Another study, also published in the Injury Prevention Journal, found this: “far more survey respondents report having been threatened or intimidated
            with a gun than having used a gun to protect themselves.” You mention women, but another study found that about six times more women were shot by husbands, boyfriends, and ex-partners in 2010 than murdered by male strangers.

            And there are many other gun deaths not included in the homicide numbers.

            As for defensive gun use, the 2.5 million number you cite has been debunked repeatedly, and even you admit that it’s high. I offer a link here: http://www.stat.duke.edu/~dalene/chance/chanceweb/103.myth0.pdf

            But your other numbers are quite high as well. You may not like the Violence Policy Center, but they studied the National Crime Victimization Survey and found this: “for the five-year period 2007 through 2011, the total number of self-protective behaviors involving a firearm by victims of attempted or completed violent crimes or property crimes totaled
            only 338,700.” That comes out to about 68,000 defensive gun uses per year. And to quote former Bush speechwriter David Frum, “The vast majority of homicides take place between intimates, not strangers. Assaults, too, are often an acquaintance crime. When guns are
            produced by two parties to a confrontation, one party may deter the other. Yet it may be seriously misleading to designate one of these
            persons as a ‘criminal’ and the other as a ‘law-abiding citizen.’ Perhaps when we hear ‘defensive gun use,’ we should not imagine a
            householder confronting a prowler. Perhaps we should think of two acquaintances, both with some criminal history, getting into a drunken
            fight, both producing guns, one ending up dead or wounded, the other ending up as a ‘DGU’ statistic — but both of them entangled in a scenario that would have produced only injuries if neither had carried a gun.”

            As for guns and alcohol, some states allow people carrying guns to drink, but they cannot be intoxicated or under the influence (Texas and Florida, for example). You may want to check your facts on this. Then compound it with this 2011 study (quoted from a press release by the University of California Davis Health System): “Gun owners who carry concealed weapons or have confronted another person
            with a gun are more than twice as likely to drink heavily as people who do not own guns, according to a study by UC Davis researchers. Binge drinking, chronic heavy alcohol use, and drinking and driving were all more common among gun owners generally than among non-owners, even after adjusting for factors such as age, sex, race, and state of residence.
            But alcohol abuse was most common among firearm owners who participated in gun-related behaviors that carry a risk of violence, which also included having a loaded, unlocked firearm in the home and driving or riding in a vehicle with a loaded firearm.”

            Ultimately, you see no issues with gun proliferation; I do. You say that gun proliferation has no relationship to crime; I disagree and in fact think that you have a very pinched and narrow view of crime. You see no use for records and waiting periods; I see them as vital tools for crime fighting and for cooling off during times of anger and passion. In the last few decades more than about a million Americans have lost their lives from gun violence. Compare that to any other country in the world. How can you continue to say that guns are not part of the problem? And even if we adopt all of your proposals, how can you not also say that better regulation of guns and their lethal power should be part of the solution?

          • professorpublius

            Actually, Mark Twain credited the 19th century
            British prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, with the phrase “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” But the point isn’t Twain as much as accuracy, and your well-intended misattribution is emblematic of the inaccuracies throughout your post. As we all know, a faulty factual foundation will lead you to faulty conclusions.

            So let’s review your argument.

            First, the important point is that that the percentage of those owning guns has declined, which is what all the major studies show – from Pew, the General Social Survey, and even Gallup. And those who own guns are increasingly owning a lot of guns. And among those who own guns, and lots of guns, it is heavily weighted toward white men. That’s the point in this article. Your back-of-the envelope calculation is also wrong. According to the Injury Prevention Journal study cited in this article, which was published in 2007, “20% of gun owners who owned the most guns possessed about 65% of the nation’s guns.” Calculate that out and those 20 percent of gun owners own an average of about 15 guns each (some more, some less), which is thoroughly believable. It also states that about half of all gun owners own 4 or more guns, which also means that half own 4 or fewer. So your facts – if that’s what you want to call your back-of-the-envelope number – are wrong.

            Second, you infer that virtually all shooting incidents are from gangs, drugs, and robberies. But according to the analysis of homicides in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports from 2011, arguments account for the largest number of murders by a considerable margin, far more than gangs or drug deals. Add up gun homicides from arguments, romantic triangles, and alcohol brawls and they equal 3.3 times the number of gun homicides from gangs and juvenile gangs, and 3.7 times the number of gun homicides from robberies. You mention women, but according to numbers from the 2010 FBI Supplementary Homicide Report, women are about six times more likely to be killed by a husband, boyfriend, intimate
            acquaintance, or ex-partner than by a male stranger or someone they don’t know. So once again your facts are all off, and they reflect nothing more than a stereotypical – and wholly inaccurate – view of crime and particularly gun
            crime. And the issue really is the proliferation of firearms.

            Note that there are many more deaths not included in the homicide numbers, and many would not have happened had lethal firearms not been involved.

            Third, let’s look at defensive gun use. Even you come close to acknowledging the inaccuracy of the claim that guns are used to defend against crime about 2.5 million times per year (though the NRA continues to tout that number). Scholar David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health pretty much eviscerates that finding in a 1997 article published in Chance, which is published by the
            American Statistical Association. You may not like the Violence Policy Center, but their review of data from the National Crime Victimization Center shows that from 2007 to 2011, there were 338,700 DGUs, meaning about 68,000 per year.

            But whatever number you use, context and analysis is essential. The Harvard researchers found in 2000 that “firearms are used far more often to frighten and intimidate than they are used in self-defense.” The Injury Prevention Journal in 2000 published a survey which found that “far more survey respondents report having been threatened or intimidated with a gun than having used a gun to protect themselves. A majority of the reported self
            defense gun uses were rated as probably illegal by a majority of judges.” Or consider what former Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote, which seems fully consistent with the scholarly findings: “When we hear ‘defensive gun use,’ we’re invited to think of a law-abiding citizen confronting a criminal aggressor. Yet crime does not always present itself so neatly. The vast majority of homicides take place between intimates, not strangers. Assaults,
            too, are often an acquaintance crime. When guns are produced by two parties to a confrontation, one party may deter the other. Yet it may be seriously misleading to designate one of these persons as a ‘criminal’ and the other as a ‘law-abiding citizen.’ Perhaps when we hear ‘defensive gun use,’ we should not imagine a householder confronting a prowler. Perhaps we should think of two acquaintances, both with some criminal history, getting into a drunken fight, both producing guns, one ending up dead or wounded, the other ending up as a ‘DGU’ statistic — but both of them entangled
            in a scenario that would have produced only injuries if neither had carried a gun.”

            As for carrying guns into bars and drinking, you may want to check your facts. In some states (Florida and Texas), it’s intoxication that is prohibited, not drinking. And consider this study published in 2011 by the University of California Davis Health System (quoting from their press release): “Gun owners who carry concealed weapons or have confronted another person with a gun are more than twice as likely to drink heavily as people who do not own guns, according to a study by UC Davis researchers. Binge drinking, chronic heavy alcohol use, and drinking and driving were all more common among gun owners generally than among non-owners, even after adjusting for factors such as age, sex, race, and state of residence. But alcohol abuse was most common among firearm owners who participated in gun-related behaviors that carry a risk of violence, which also included having a loaded, unlocked firearm in the home and driving or riding in a vehicle with a loaded firearm.”

            You also make a fascinating insight to support your argument, that it is not guns but a “tanked economy” which fosters “desperation” that leads to murders and crime. Above I have debunked your claim, but note that you are using a sociological model related to “desperation” that is not all that dissimilar to the “status anxiety” model the author uses in his article. What it shows is that you are fully willing to apply sociological analysis to understand behavior, and I am fine with that as long as your facts are correct, which they aren’t. But why, then, attack the author for doing the same?

            In the long run, you do not see guns as a cause of crime, injury, and murder; I do. You do not see waiting periods and limitations on semi-automatics as right or useful; I see them as essential, one for cooling off passions (note
            the facts on arguments above) and the other for reducing the lethal potential of gun violence. Even if we adopted all of your recommendations, they would not save thousands of lives sacrificed to the unlimited right you claim. In the last four decades, about one million Americans have lost their lives to gun violence. You may be a perfectly responsible gun owner – I have no quibble with
            that. And same with your pals. But many aren’t. And some who usually are sadly lapse and do something they regret – at the cost of another’s life. How many more are you willing to sacrifice just so that you don’t face some inconvenience?

          • djstucrew

            Since I’m not here writing a college thesis, perhaps one could take my citation of Twain’s quote quoting somebody else in the spirit intended instead of trying to find fault, eh? It’s not that I play “fast n’ loose” with facts — it’s that this is a casual conversation and I’m thinking off the top of my head and typing extremely fast as I kinda have a life beyond the forums. Cool?

            If you’ve read all of those surveys, you’ll see some pretty wildly fluxuating numbers. This is because each approached the question differently and, in some cases, sample sizes were shockingly low. (You’ll see this criticism a lot.) Then there is a huge segment of gun owners, such as Matt Davis below, who will not give answers to said surveys. I don’t think this segment is small enough to be negilgible, considering some of the discussions I’ve had with gun owners, both in-person and online.

            The FBI Univform Crime Reports is one of my favorite places to go for data! The trouble is that it is sometimes not very specific; blanket labels can cover a lot of very different scenarios. Say “accidents” to a gun owner, and s/he may envision someone carelessly leaving a round in the chamber when cleaning, or a dropped revolver with a round under the hammer. To a hoplophobe, visions of kids “finding daddy’s gun” spring to mind (a rare, albeit not rare enough situation). Still others think of the infamous video of the cop shooting himself in the leg while demonstrating his Glock duty pistol that he says he’s “the only one professional enough in this room” to use.

            And this is the thing; there are tons and tons of studies covering the same ground, all coming from various directions. In researching my book, I literally encountered all of them. Then comes the weeding-out process; you’ve got to check the sources. Any funded by NRA affiliated sources: tossed. Any funded or carried out by known anti-gun entities (VPC, Joyce Foundation, etc.): tossed. Most of what remains are government studies, although a few academic ones remain, too. The point is that for every study you cite saying one thing, I can show you one stating the opposite. I also keep hearing how Kleck’s study has been “debunked,” yet it remains the “gold standard” used by law enforcement. And the fact also remains that no competing study has gone to the time and lengths that both Kleck’s and John R. Lott’s studies have gone.

            I’m a huge “data picker” — I love poring over footnoted sources and “suggested reading” lists in these often very dry studies. My results, by and large, are in my book. (http://www.ammoland.com/2013/07/knowing-guns-the-ins-outs-of-firearms-firearms-politics/#axzz2aB17hCvS) I’ve also started a Facebook page, where I supplement the cited sources with other info that simply wouldn’t fit into the space I had available. You should look us up — it’s a free-fire zone and all views are welcome, as long as everyone is civil.

            Just as there are many gun deaths not included in the homicide numbers, there are many DGUs that aren’t included in any official reports. My own mother was involved in one. A crime prevented often prompts no calls to police. So nearly all data on DGUs contains a large dose of speculation. I tend to lean toward the extrapolations based on polls vs. empirical data.

            Note that I framed my statements on guns and alcohol based on my own state of Michigan. You are correct in that I haven’t checked every law in every state, but I have never heard of any locale that permits being drunk while carrying. (Although there are often carve-outs for cops, shockingly enough.)

            I must be brief as I have to leave for a family obligation, but I’d also like to take a moment to point out that even if the VPC’s figure of 68,000 DGUs is accurate, that’s more than double the gun homicide rate INCLUDING suicides, which I’ve always thought unfairly tip the scales. (Suicide could be an entire thread in and of itself!)

            My lack of concern over “proliferation” is because of pure statistics: the guns used in crimes are an extremely small percentage of the guns in circulation. Indeed, the vast majority go from factory to scrap heap (or museum) without ever harming anyone. (War aside, of course.) We can also see that, when it comes to violent crime, the U.S. doesn’t lead the way. (We don’t even lead the way in “gun crime,” despite being the undisputed leader in per capita gun ownership.) I LOVE “record keeping” — my concern is registration, which can be demonstrably proven to have zero utility in preventing crime. There may be some utility in solving them, but better methods currently in use are available. Given the high ratio of crime guns being stolen, such registries only lead authorities to the last legal owner. The gun may well have changed hands many times in-between.

            Waiting periods, too, are statistically useless: the scenario of someone buying a gun and instantly using it is extremely rare. Again, recovered crime guns average abut 6 years old (in my state).

            How can I make the statements I make? Because I’ve checked into it. I always, ALWAYS base my opinions on empirical fact, when available, or the best research I can find. You speak of better regulation, but that’s a broad blanket. Guns are already tightly regulated, and I find those who say that our laws are lax usually don’t even know what laws are already on the books. Also, blanket regulations may make it harder for criminals to legally get guns, but also place the same barriers in the way of the law abiding. Remember my standard for knowing a good proposal from a bad one? It is this: will cops willingly abide by it. Will they accept a 10 rd. limit? NO = bad idea. Smart guns? NO = bad idea. And so on. They have real world data to SHOW why such ideas can be deadly for cops. IMO, my life is every bit as important, and I follow the lead of the experts. (Not to be confused by what some police, often puppets of the masters they serve, sometimes SAY. It’s what they do.)

            So I don’t knee-jerk oppose any regulation. I just want specifics, and I’m not open to repeating failures of the past or those that defy basic logic. I want any new laws to be effective against crime; NOT political theater. I don’t think there’s nothing we can do to improve things — and, in fact, we’ve been lowering violent crime for the past 20 years — but I think the focus on the tool is the wrong approach. If we could end the stupid “war on drugs,” and take a zero tolerance attitude toward gangs, it would go a very long way to reducing gun violence. Public campaigns, like those of the past against smoking, littering and other problems could be launched to remind gun owners who are parents of the dangers of poor gun storage and safety practices. And then there’s suicide — some 61% of all reported “gun deaths.” Due to some personal experience, I’ve been active in this area.

            Anyway, I’m off to the races. As always, thank you for your thoughtful replies. If we don’t chat again beforehand, a very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

          • professorpublius

            I appreciate all of your comments and wish you all the best for a safe and healthy new year.

            It is worth noting that in the last forty years, about 1.4 million Americans have been killed by guns, more than all the Americans who have died in wars. Contrast that with any other nation on this planet and it’s a chilling number. The bottom line: if we were like most other democracies and did not allow the proliferation of guns (or if we controlled guns more stringently, as they do in Corsica), we would have a mere fraction of these deaths. In other words: few guns, few gun deaths. And yes, I understand, people might die by other means. But as with other countries the numbers would be minuscule. And remember, a large number of these gun deaths take place among people who know one another — every day provides too many examples of acquaintance murders. And many people who became criminals were once law-abiding till something went wrong — at someone else’s expense. And even if you want to raise the specter of the stereotypical criminal, he or she would not be able to obtain guns illegally if there weren’t so many guns around. Weapons do indeed kill, and since guns are the most lethal weapons of all, they are complicit in all of these deaths.

            Now realistically we will never go back to a garden of Eden where few have lethal weapons available to them at a moment’s notice. So the question is how to minimize the problem, ensure people’s safety, save lives, and still respect the many like you who know that rights come with responsibilities. It’s a hard question, and I guess that’s where we disagree.

            From an intellectual perspective, I am troubled by your use of facts. There are times when government statistics seem to support your argument, yet when they don’t you minimize them. You accept Kleck and Lott, but they have been repeatedly debunked. You cite law enforcement, but many in law enforcement want stricter gun regulations. You say that guns are overly regulated, yet most gun laws in recent years have been weakened. You apply a blanket interpretation of DGU, not seeing that many of these uses are far more complicated than you believe, yet you don’t want to accept a blanket interpretation of the Uniform Crime Reports because that depicts gun murders differently from the way you see it. Now don’t get me wrong. I prefer fact-based arguments on this and every issue. And I appreciate your commitment to that. But as Senator Moynihan once said, we’re entitled to our own opinions but not to our own facts. It’s easy to parse and interpret any fact in a way that confirms our preexisting beliefs. And then they stop being facts and instead simply become evidence that’s used to support an argument. Ultimately, we will never reach any mutual understanding on this issue if every fact and study is not subjected to the same standard of scrutiny. I don’t care who funds it. But I do care what it says. And I have a hard time accepting “fact-based” arguments that use and interpret facts selectively.

          • djstucrew

            A very happy New Year to you as well!

            It’s easy to impress with aggregate numbers. I don’t mean to belittle things like murder and death, but here’s a good romp through some statistics for ya, along with a dose of logic:
            http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/12/robert-farago/gun-reform-children/

            What you may be overlooking, again, are all of the lives saved by guns. Not only here, but what of all the reports of genocide in many areas of the world? Have you ever noticed that they always seem to happen to people who are disarmed?

            I assure you that I don’t “use facts” for any preordained end. I go where they lead. But as you may be well aware, you must consider sources, counter-studies, context and other factors. So, for instance, I usually immediately reject those supplied by the NRA or other blatantly pro-gun group. On the same note, the VPC and anything via the Joyce Foundation is equally suspect. Oftimes all we’re left with are government statistics. If I ever “minimize” them, I usually explain why they might fall into question.

            You say Kleck and Lott have been “debunked,” but that seems to be your opinion, not a fact. Nowhere have they been actually “debunked” in any peer-reviewed work. Yes, they have detractors, but any controversial studies will generate them — it’s how science works. What I find interesting is that new work has come along that bolsters their claims, including the latest by the CDC since their funding to study guns has been restored.

            Some cops indeed parrot the “stricter gun laws” line, usually at the behest of the anti-gun mayor who writes his paycheck. Again, my “gold standard” is if the cops will accept the very restrictions they’re insisting that I follow. Will THEY accept “smart guns?” Will they tolerate a 10 round magazine limit? Will they give up their AR-15s? My answers will mirror theirs, and for good reason. Police have real world data showing how those things can be deadly to cops. And I detail in my book how they can be even MORE deadly to ME.

            Specify: how have gun laws been “weakened?” Is there any demonstrable evidence that those changes have increased crime? (In fact, the incidence of violent crime, including shootings, have decreased.) In fact, gun laws have gotten more strict in many areas in the wake of Newtown. They’re preparing to confiscate guns in NYC and bans in CA and CO go into effect in hours or days.

            Again, because this is a contentious, political issue, there are much shenanigans and selective data picking by various political groups. Again, I insist on vetting their “facts.” Statements purporting to be facts, yet run contrary to truth, are then NOT “facts” by definition. Plus, we also need to properly evaluate said facts in relation to surrounding factors. It was quite stunning to me when a pinpoint map of shootings was created over the U.S. The same researchers, then, overlaid another map pinpointing the highest incidence of gang and criminal activity (via police reports and arrest records). The second nearly blotted out the first.

            The point is that people like you and I aren’t out carjacking, sticking people up or participating in gang initiations or retaliations, so reducing our ability to buy or own guns does NOTHING to lower crime. (And may, in fact, make things more dangerous for us!) Any new legislation, then, needs to be focused at the right target. If it “wouldn’t have prevented” [insert high-profile shooting here], then there is NO REASON to enact it.

            And that, sir, is my final post anywhere for 2013! Again, I appreciate your thoughtful responses. I plan to blast some more of my sources at my “Knowing Guns” Facebook page very soon. I hope you’ll join us!

          • professorpublius

            Please allow me to hold up a mirror to your bias.

            Your phrase that “some cops parrot the ‘stricter gun laws’ line, usually at the behest of the anti-gun mayor who writes his paycheck,” is perhaps the most revealing statement you have written. Essentially you are saying that police who disagree with you do so only because they are bought off, and otherwise they would agree with you. So beyond questioning their wisdom (saying they “parrot”), you are questioning their integrity. Now I don’t know if you’re familiar with all the groups that support stricter gun laws, so let me list them for you: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Police Executive Research Forum, and the Police Foundation. Perhaps you will try to discount all of these groups in order to support your narrative about guns. I’m waiting. But I do think that someone like you will credit them with the integrity and wisdom they deserve.

            As for Kleck, I referred in an earlier post to an article that demolishes his research — see Hemenway, David. The myth of millions of annual self-defense gun uses: A case study of survey overestimates of rare events. Chance (American Statistical Association). 1997; 10:6-10. Also see Hemenway’s 1997 Survey Research and Self-Defense Gun Use: An Explanation of Extreme Overestimates, published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.

            As for Lott, I refer you to the Ayers and Donohue Stanford Law Review articles that, pardon the pun, shoot gaping holes in Lott’s analysis. Effectively, Lott’s data contained so many coding errors that, when corrected, the results actually showed that concealed weapons led to more crime. And even Michelle Malkin, no liberal, wrote this about Lott: “Lott claims to have lost all of his data due to a computer crash. He financed the survey himself and kept no financial records. He has forgotten the names of the students who allegedly helped with the survey and who supposedly dialed thousands of survey respondents long-distance from their own dorm rooms using survey software Lott can’t identify or produce. Assuming the survey data was lost in a computer crash, it is still remarkable that Lott could not produce a single, contemporaneous scrap of paper proving the survey’s existence, such as the research protocol or survey instrument.”

            As for looser gun laws, please. More states allowed shall rather than may carry, more allow open carry, more allow guns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, more allow guns on campuses, many don’t require training with concealed carry, a growing number have shoot first laws, and the list goes on. States that used to be able to restrict are no longer allowed care of the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, which overturned the previous interpretation of the Second Amendment.

            Personally, I am more concerned about gun deaths and injuries than about crime. Simply put, guns are lethal, far more so than any other weapon. And what may be a crime often didn’t start that way — an argument or shooting of passion, which according to the Uniform Crime Reports are more common causes than many crimes. And the research bears out that a gun in the house is more dangerous to people than a crime happening to them. But even if you want to talk about crime, some of the most gun laden areas have seen an uptick in crime. Why? Meth. And drugs are what led to crime in urban areas for years. In fact most analysis of crime says that social and economic conditions are the best indicators of crime rates. Policing too. More guns among suburbanites has done nothing to deter urban crime. But it does lead to the almost daily occurrence of an acquaintance mowing down a family or a girlfriend or someone they got in an argument with.

            It’s pretty simple. If we didn’t have a proliferation of guns, we wouldn’t have so many gun deaths and injuries. But since we have a proliferation of guns and there’s no turning back, we need to figure out ways to manage the situation. Good people will certainly disagree, as our conversation has shown. The problem is that we have to stop using junk science as evidence and focus on a strict scrutiny of the facts. Once we can begin to reach common ground there, maybe, just maybe, we can come up with some answers that will do what a democracy is supposed to do: balance the rights of all involved. Personally, I’ve accepted that lots of people in this country will own guns, and essentially the gun control movement has accepted that as well. And I absolutely refuse to demonize the many, like you, who treat that right with the utmost responsibility. But I don’t think the gun advocates have accepted that lots of people in this country have died or been injured because of guns. Or that guns instil fear among many. Or intimidate. And I see them demonizing daily, with venom, good people who seek ways to manage our gun problem. Perhaps our conversation is a start. But somehow people have to find common ground and begin to give a little.

          • djstucrew

            Um… said mirror is cracked; didn’t you see that I qualified my statement with “some”? I’m saying that police groups and individual sheriffs are like many other groups; there is plenty of difference of opinion and NO real consensus. Also, I’d like you to consider that these opinions could be swayed by such factors. It’s certainly not unheard of. Sheriffs also play politics.

            I’m not sure where you got your unattributed list, but I’m aware that, just as with Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, there was a list of pro-gun control police groups going around where said groups had NO IDEA they were on it and, when they found out, asked to be removed. If we’re going to simply splat lists here, how about this one:
            http://cspoa.org/sheriffs-gun-rights/

            If you like some detail with your data, try this:
            http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/28/16740488-police-chiefs-sheriffs-divided-over-gun-control-measures?lite

            And some groups don’t truly represent the rank-and-file.
            http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/312483/gun-control-and-police-robert-verbruggen
            (I was a UAW member once, so I know this well!)

            I’ve already argued Kleck, Lott and their detractors in my book. If you want to know why you’re wrong, I suggest you read it. Suffice it to say that I’m amazed by how similar many of the counter-studies don’t actually gather their own data in order to refute Kleck/Lott, but instead use the same logic that creationists level at evolution: “but how do you explain…?”
            https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/personal-incredulity

            Also, having researched this, I am unaware of ANY study showing more crime accompanying concealed carry. In my own state of Michigan, a recent article called reform “The Big Yawn.” The idea was that it has made no real difference one way or the other. This conclusion, however, is a recent one, based on the number of permits in circulation vs. crime. Crime has gone up on its own in the big cities (Detroit, Flint) where gang influence has increased, but has dropped or remained the same in the suburbs. Gangs don’t usually bother with permits. :)

            None of the things you mentioned (shall rather than may carry…open carry…guns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol…guns on campuses…many don’t require training with concealed carry…a growing number have shoot first laws) were not and are not an issue. Let’s knock ‘em down together, shall we?
            1. Shall issue means that, if you meet the requirements and have a clean record, you can’t be arbitrarily denied a permit. This is a GOOD thing; used to be that people who got permits were “good ol’ boys” network — big contributors to the sherriff’s election fund, etc. This restores your ability “to bear” as a right rather than a privilege. (Yes, I’m saying “may issue” is an infringment on 2A.)

            2. My own state simply never illegalized open carry. Open carry is sometimes the only option for those who live in a place where they don’t allow legal concealed carry. Thus far, open carriers haven’t been in the news for causing trouble.
            3. NOWHERE does any law allow someone carrying a gun to be DRUNK. So it doesn’t matter if they carry where alcohol is served, does it? I used to play “designated driver” for friends, and the bar where I worked had an awesome restaurant.
            4. The lesson of Virginia Tech shows the futility of “gun-free zones.” Adult students, teachers and faculty SHOULD be allowed a means of self-defense. And again, the only school shootings I’ve heard of weren’t committed by permit holders.
            5. Some states don’t require any driver’s training to get a license, either. BUT ALL LAWS STILL APPLY! So in the rare state that doesn’t require any training for a CCW permit will still slam you in jail if you break a law. So even in those states, smart people will still take classes. Some don’t need them as they are aware of the laws and keep up on them.
            6. Here’s YOUR mirror: there is NO SUCH THING AS A “SHOOT FIRST” LAW. Your own bias is showing. That is a propaganda term direct from Sarah Brady. You might be referring to what is known as “castle doctrine,” which means you don’t have to flee from your home if someone invades it (no “duty to retreat”) OR you might mean “Stand Your Ground,” which extends that same right to anywhere you have a legal right to be. Tell me: if someone comes after you with a knife or gun, should you have to leave your sleeping kids behind? Or leave the cashier of the convenience store to his/her own devices? Should we actively work to give criminals a safe working environment?

            Heller didn’t overturn any “previous interpretation” of 2A; it affirmed what was already known, yet the courts had been silent on for nearly a century. If you study 19th Century case law, you will see that Heller was properly decided. (A previous lower court case, Emmerson, did the same thing beforehand.) Again, this stuff is all in my book.
            http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E4V2VQW

            The “gun in the home is more dangerous” myth has also been debunked. In fact, this was something I myself still believed until just a bit of actual research. Based on the “Kellerman Paper,” the numbers of suicides are used to inflate the “danger,” and the only defensive uses where the criminal is shot and killed were counted. See: http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcdgaga.html

            Urban crime is a knotty mess. I’m from Detroit. Our murder rate is higher than Chicago. I know what I’m talking about. A lot of urban areas “gun crime” revolves around drugs and gangs. Meanwhile, most citizens only see the resulting violence, blame the guns, do nothing about the criminals; they hold useless “prayer vigils” and “gun buybacks,” don’t trust or talk with police (when there ARE police), and then wonder why they’re awash in blood. It’s near magical thinking.

            My friend, Rick Ector, is slowly turning that victim mindset around. He runs LAID (Legally Armed In Detroit), training Detroiters on how to use guns defensively and get their permits. After massive budget cuts, the police union actually told residents “you’re on your own” and told visitors, “you enter at your own risk.” Arming up the innocent/law abiding is the ONLY sane option, aside from a mass exodus. The same needs to happen in Chicago, Philadelphia and Compton. We’ve got to get serious about gangs and drugs or it will never end.

            And disarming ME does nothing to halt that. But it seems that you understand this, to your credit. I also understand that most people unfamiliar with guns and their politics have valid concerns and we “people of the gun” shouldn’t dismiss them. As unfair as it might be that we often get called to answer for the actions of criminals and crazies, we would be insane to think we’re going to preserve our rights and implement good policy without working WITH, not against, all concerned. Indeed, we may well have much common ground. And YES, I absolutely insist that facts, logic and reason be our guide! I guess the devil in this detail is what we’re going to accept as valid data.

          • professorpublius

            Thanks for your reply, and it simply heightens my concern about your selective perception and use of facts.

            Ultimately, as hard as we try, and as civil as we’ve been, if you continue to make up facts to support your side and cast unreasonable doubt on facts that don’t, then it’s really hard to have a conversation.

            Consider Heller. You say that ” it affirmed what was already known, yet the courts had been silent on for nearly a century.” I suggest that you read the Supreme Court’s 1939 Miller decision, which was the interpretation of the Second Amendment up until Heller — and allowed states and localities to regulate firearms, which they are much more restricted in doing now.

            Miller said: “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense. The Constitution as originally adopted granted to the Congress power — ‘To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.’ With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.”

            I know you mean well, but these are the facts. You cannot create a narrative of factual accuracy built on inaccurate evidence.

            As for your insinuation that my list of law enforcement groups is inaccurate, that gun control groups are citing them without their knowledge, and that my list is somehow unattributed, I would suggest a little research. First, go to these groups and see what they say. Second, go to the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence; you will see news releases and other documentation of this coalition of rather impressive law enforcement organization; and there are plenty of photos online showing that these are not stooges, as you suggest, or people whose names are nefariously listed, as you also suggest — they are committed law enforcement professionals who see the damage and danger from guns. Now yes, as you point out, there are others in law enforcement who disagree, but that in no way discounts the views of the many who support stricter gun laws.

            You mention evolution and creationism, which I think is an apt analogy. The creationists have developed a pseudoscientific notion called “intelligent design” which they wrap with footnotes and alleged facts … but none of which withstand the scrutiny and rigor that science and evidence requires. Consider the Lotts and Klecks of the world the “intelligent design” equivalents of the gun debate. If you can’t see the flaws in their evidence and argument, then essentially you’re like the believer who promotes creationism but wants a “factual” veneer to cover it.

            All of the issues I mentioned — shall carry, open carry, allowing guns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, stand your ground (or as some do call it, shoot first) laws — are real concerns. For so many of us, the gritty crime that serves as the foundation for your argument — and as the seeming rationale for your guns — is far less of an issue than the proliferation of lethal firearms that results in the murder and maiming of thousands each year. Take away the actual crimes you cite and still thousands annually are dead because of guns and hundreds of thousands in the last four decades. It’s as if guns have cost our country the entire populations of Washington, DC and Baltimore if you add it all up.

            You said you were a liberal, and maybe you are on some issues. But when citing the National Review to undercut unions you sound an awful lot like a diehard conservative.

            As for debunking Kellerman, yes, I know how pro-gun advocates such as Kleck have attacked him. And I do know that he walked away from some of his more extreme numbers. But he did release his evidence and independent analyses of it still show that a gun in the home is a danger (unlike the independent analyses of Lott, which undermine his thesis). But forget Kellerman. There are many other studies. Here’s an abstract from one published in the American Journal of Epidemiology: “Data from a US mortality follow-back survey were analyzed to determine whether having a firearm in the home increases the risk of a violent death in the home and whether risk varies by storage practice, type of gun, or number of guns in the home. Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4). They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death. The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9). Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6). Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.”

            When I corrected your Mark Twain quote, you quipped that hey, we’re not writing a college thesis here. But in some ways what we are doing is more important. We are contributing ideas to a democracy that must somehow deal with the conflict over guns. So I actually ask and insist upon the type of due diligence that far exceeds even the most rigorous demands of a college thesis. If someone writing a thesis brought forth research full of holes and bias that was solely designed to rationalize an opinion, it shouldn’t get a passing grade. But the stakes are much higher here. They are, literally, life and death.

            At this point I have to move on. When your factual pool is limited to partisan reports that solely support your ideology, then it ceases to be a factual pool for me. I appreciate the sincerity of your passion, and I do hope that your firearms bring you only pleasure and security, not pain and fear. But on the facts so central to this issue, I might admire your enthusiasm and effort, but I’m afraid that you wouldn’t pass that college thesis in my class. Be well. These are my final words. At least we gave it a try.

          • djstucrew

            Sometimes I forget that the people I’m speaking to may not be as up on the facts as I am. While I may have skipped some details for the sake of being concise, I didn’t skip over Miller on purpose. Being the single case that gun control proponents hang their hat on, it is awash in irony.

            For instance, today’s ATF applies a “sporting use” standard on the importation of firearms, yet Miller specifically states that the firearms must have a MILITARY application! The shotgun in question, not being in standard military use at the time, was disallowed, opening the door for some limited regulations. (And there are many of the opinion that this decision was wrong; “shall not be infringed” is a fairly unambiguous statement.)

            Yet aside from this single case, the courts have been virtually silent. Yet a quick perusal of Supreme Court 2nd Amendment cases of the 19th Century shows a uniformly held individual rights view. In his article, “Fits On The Head Of A Pin: A (Really) Brief History of the ‘Collective’ Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” author, attorney and Research Director of the Independence Institute, Dave Kopel, lists, in order, every 2nd Amendment case throughout the 1800s, beginning with Houston v. Moore in 1821. In every instance, right on through to the last case of that century, in 1897, the Court’s view of the Second Amendment is a definitive refutation to the collective rights view. (See: http://www.nraila.org/news-issues/articles/2008/a-(really)-brief-history-of-the-collec.aspx )

            So there is the more complete detail. In any event, Heller was decided as I knew it would be; if the Justices are true to the law, as written, that was the only possible outcome. What I find alarming is how some base decisions on partisan ideology or dogma, rather than actual case law and intent.

            Where POLITRICKS is concerned, some groups have no lower limit as to how low they’ll stoop to garner support. Bloomberg’s “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” sometimes listed mayors without their knowledge! The only reason I know this is due to the ruckus some made when trying to get their names removed. If YOU had done a bit of research, you’d find that some groups list organizations and sheriffs in the same way. That said, I’m not mimimizing those groups that have joined the anti-gun rights position. I’m just saying that these groups aren’t the be all and end all of the debate: that I consider their ACTIONS before their words. Again: will THEY adopt “smart guns?” Will they give up their AR-15 “assault weapons?” Will they accept a 10-round (or 15-round) ammunition limit? If the answer is “no,” then they have NO RIGHT to demand the same of ME, or any other law abiding citizen!

            Comparing Lott/Kleck/Mustard/Mauser to creationists is a logical error; no creationist “study” or other paper has been accepted into peer-reviewed scientific literature. But these men, all credtialed, respected professionals, have been and are published in mainstream academic publications. Their data are in common use in law enforcement and legislation has been based on their work. That they’ve caused controversy is not in dispute. What stands out about Lott, however, was his original plan. When he first chose to study CCW laws and gun homicide, he thought he’d score an easy paper, given that the relationship seemed obvious. Things changed when he actually began studying the data and, to his surprise, found the exact opposite of what he expected. At the time, he was no media darling and had no connection with the NRA or any other pro-gun group. (As I understand it, he’d never even owned or fired a gun before in his life!)

            So again, he’s got detractors, yet his data holds up. The gun ban side sticks with Arthur Kellerman, even though he, too, has detractors and, sad to say, his data does NOT hold up. While most of Lott’s detractors point to flaws in his methodology or other details, to date there have been only a couple of actual, full-blown COUNTER studies. Kellerman, on the other hand, has had his data debunked several times by other researchers who ran their own studies.

            Your basic premise is incorrect. You state: “the proliferation of lethal firearms that results in the murder and maiming of thousands each year.” This is demonstrably false by the very fact that while the number of guns in circulation has increased by about 1/3rd since 9/11, the overall violent crime rate has dropped. There is NO correlation between the numbers of guns and the amount of “gun crime.”

            Next you say, “Take away the actual crimes you cite and still thousands annually are dead because of guns and hundreds of thousands in the last four decades.” Again, that’s incorrect. Accidents and domestic shootings involving guns do indeed happen, but are very rare when compared to the biggest offenders: gangland shootings, drug related shootings (often one in the same) and other criminal activity. If we’re going to enact any sort of law with the intent to make the general population safer, then it MUST be aimed at those actors, NOT the law abiding! This is not to say that we don’t promote more responsible behavior among legal gun owners and users. I’m all FOR better training, safer storage (especially around kids) and sound gun safety practices, but such things should not be given force of law. Stupid local ordinances had instances like that of a homeowner arrested when, after successfully fending off a home invasion and possibly saving the lives of his family, it was determined that he violated the “safe storage” law that made his firearm available in the FIRST place. I see it more along the lines of how ads ran that shamed people to stop littering. And remember the old ads about what to do if you found a blasting cap? Maybe we could bring back the weeping Indian to campaign for trigger locks.

            I’m a former UAW member and have nuttin’ but love for my Union brothers and sisters. I’m just an equal opportunity data picker, and don’t care if a source leans right or left as long as the actual data they present comes from a reliable source. (Fact checking goes a long way, and it’s a whole lot easier now then it was in the ’70s when I had to plow through the stacks at the library!)

            I’m very well aware of the study whose numbers you poached. First off, I’ll say that statistically, if you bring a gun into your home, the risk, then, CANNOT be zero. But this can be said of any power tool; if you own a circular saw, your risk of losing a finger or worse is now not zero. The real question, then, is how great is the risk and how great is the potential benefit?

            I’m inclined to eliminate suicides from the overall numbers for more than a couple of reasons. First, someone bent on suicide will find a way. I’ve personally known two suicides and neither involved a gun. A third one I know of was of a person who didn’t own a gun or have one in his home. Instead, he went over to his friend’s house — a security officer — and, while he was allowed to examine his friend’s shotgun when his friend left the room momentarily, took the gun, went into the backyard, loaded a round he’d purposely brought with him and killed himself. How might similar scenarios like that skew the statistics? Also, saying someone “might’ve lived” if they hadn’t chosen a gun is ludicrous; some survivors have reported that the last thing they wanted was a half-assed measure that left them a vegetable, or paralyzed and dependent, etc.

            Again there’s plenty of other good reasons, and if someone is law abiding, with a clean record, then aside from easier access to crisis centers and mental health treatment, how do you keep guns away from suicidal people without destroying the right for all?

            And now we get to the “main event” — the benefit. How many lives are saved by the use of guns? This question has been the focus of all sides of the debate, and everybody seems to have a number. Pro-gun groups stick with the 2.5 million per year figure of Kleck’s original 1988 study. (https://www.gunowners.org/sk0802htm.htm )

            More moderate sources quote “Government figures from the National Survey of Criminal Victimization suggest 100,000 uses a year of guns in self-defense against crime, the vast majority of these uses being the display of weapons to deter or dissuade.” This should ring two bells:
            1. John Lott’s study was the first to show that most defensive gun uses involved the simple display of a gun with no shots fired, which means that actual DGUs could be drastically under-reported. (Who calls in a non-crime?)
            2. Even if we leave IN the suicide numbers, that means guns are a benefit at a more than 3:1 ratio of lives saved vs. lives lost!
            3. Eliminate suicides, and guns save lives at a >7:1 ratio!
            (http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/30/opinion/frum-guns-safer )

            Personally, I tend to think that this is like most things in life, and that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The 2.5 million figure seems very high to me, or each of us would statistically have to personally know at least 2 people who have defended themselves with a gun. While I’ve met quite a few due to my own activities in the shooting community, I don’t personally know any! Do you?

            And I think the 100K figure is a bit low, mostly because of that underreporting thing. My own mother was involved in an incident where an attacker with a knife was scared away with a gun and the police were never notified in any way.

            The Twain quote was incidental. The numbers we’ve been talking about are not. I’m all for “due dilligence” — I used the standard “rule of three” when researching my book. This means finding three independent sources for every assertion made. There is far, far more to my life than guns — I don’t hunt, I’m not a cop and the only competitive shooting I do is for fun, not for money — so I wouldn’t care if the evidence showed guns to be totally horrible, and if it did, I’d be reporting it. But my conclusions have all been formed by the facts as I’ve been able to unearth them. My only goal is finding the truth of the matter. I make zero dollars from the “gun industry” (and, in fact, blow up a lot of money in the form of ammo – lol), and am simply concerned with the misinformation, disinformation and outright lies that are being used in an attempt to strip a basic human right from American citizens.

            Oh, and if this was a college thesis paper, I wouldn’t bang out each page as fast as I can type them. :D

          • justthefacts

            As someone who has studied this issue extensively, I’ve been reading this mildly amused because both sides are claiming factual accuracy when in fact only one side is using the facts accurately.

            So djstucrew, sorry, but you are clearly the abuser here. You can claim that you are “up on the facts,” but you are up only on material that supports your cause, and you seem to have no room for doubt. I worry when someone believes he’s right with no humility.

            First, the author of this PunditWire article uses Hofstadter, who in another work describes how ideologues like to footnote everything to claim that they have facts on their side when in truth they are just writing diatribes and screeds with footnotes. That’s what we often see from the pro-gun side.

            Most amusing is the logical flatulence of claiming that violent crime is down now because we have more guns. Serious scholars slap their knees at that one. When crime was going up, we also had an increase in guns. We’ve had a nonstop increase in guns over the decades, and the increase itself has nothing to do with a rise or decline in crime. The issue has nothing to do with more guns right now. It has everything to do with the fact that our society is and has been saturated with guns for year, so any increase is on the margins. It’s very clear what the causality is: a gun heavy society will lead to gun violence, and a society in which guns are scarce will have very little gun violence.

            Then there’s the argument that registration won’t make a difference, that it will only penalize legal gun owners. But for those concerned about crime, registration will make a huge difference — particularly if we had been doing it for decades and years. And that’s because if every gun were registered at sale, then those who buy guns intending to sell them to criminals would be held accountable. But because people can buy guns without any trace, they can sell them recklessly. That is what has fueled the criminal use of guns. And it is what has undercut communities that have strong gun laws — because guns bought in Virginia, for example, end up in the hands of criminals in DC and NY. So a little less paranoia among gun owners — and an acceptance of a minor inconvenience — could stanch the flow of guns to criminals. It will ultimately take time for the registration impact to make a difference, but it will in the long run.

            Then there is the DGU issue — defensive gun use. Saying we have lots of defensive gun uses and claiming that’s a triumph is an absurd use of that number. Most defensive gun uses come about because the person they’re using them against also has a gun. So because we have more guns, we also have more defensive gun uses. If two people in an argument take out their guns, and one person defends himself by shooting the other, then that’s technically a DGU. But it’s really a result of the pathology in our country of rampant gun ownership and the sad need for people to bring out guns during an argument. The comment above noting that arguments are a leading cause of gun deaths is fully accurate.

            As for Lott and Kleck, they are taken seriously only because the NRA and the profit-driven gun companies prop them up as “evidence.” No serious social scientist takes them seriously, particularly after their “research” has been discredited methodologically and statistically. Just because you want them to be right, djstucrew and others, doesn’t make them right.

            Responsibility for our gun violence and crime problem rests squarely on the shoulders of one group: zealous gun owners who have turned the country into the Wild West. And sadly, these zealous gun owners will excommunicate someone like a Dick Metcalf or a Jerry Tsai, both strong pro-gun types, for simply talking about regulating gun ownership (see the New York Times, January 5, 2014). So even they are called traitors. Professorpublius in this conversation takes a responsible position by accepting the fact that we have guns but asking for regulations to minimize the factors that can lead to gun violence. By saying that every proposal to do that is either treasonous or unworkable, djstucrew and his absolutist allies simply show that anything short of a libertine gun culture is unacceptable to them. They may be nice people, but there’s no other way to say this: they are to blame for the sad shape we’re in.

          • djstucrew

            Like your handle!

            First off, I post factual material that indeed supports my position, but that in no way indicates that I’ve ignored/haven’t seen those articles/data that contradicts my conclusions. In fact, in my book I often juxtapose the most differing pieces and then look for outside, independent sources to verify or discredit them. Indeed, this isn’t an exact science, and with politricks in the mix, there’s a lot of shenanigans going on on BOTH sides of the debate. The trick is to dig down deep enough to get to the factual data. I believe I’ve done that, and do not take my confidence as anything else. I’m not on the NRA’s payroll and always go where the evidence leads. This is how I approach everything in life. Proclaiming me “the abuser” here without any evidence is a baseless charge proving nothing.

            I also never claimed that crime is down BECAUSE there are more guns. I pointed out the FACT that violent crime has dropped by nearly half over the past 2 decades while, since 9/11/01, the number of guns has increased by about 1/3rd, thus negating the other side’s claim that guns cause crime. Remember: correlation is NOT causation.

            Saying that if guns are around, they’ll be used is irrelevant; in the virtual absence of guns in Britain now, authorities have been scratching their heads over why violent crime has increased. Yes, “gun crime” is down, but murder rates are fairly flat. So what is their new target? Pointy knives! Like gun control proponents here, their focus is wrong: it’s not the tool, but the motivation. Hate, intolerance and the idea that severaly injuring or taking someone’s life is a LEARNED behavior. But that’s a topic for another thread…

            Again, you haven’t shown how registration would stop or solve any crimes. All a legal buyer needs to do is to claim a gun was stolen and they’re off the hook. We register cars mostly at the behest of the insurance companies; to facilitate the return of stolen cars, which are expensive items we basically leave outdoors unattended. Nobody leaves guns outdoors and unattended. Since most guns used in crimes are stolen, registration would only lead authorities to the last legally registered owner. The gun may well have changed hands several times by then.

            So again, how is registration supposed to curtail crime or solve one? Especially when we have other, well-established and effective means to tie various crime guns to recovered bullets/casings and victims.

            Plus, as I said before, if guns from surrounding areas are fueling crime in states/cities with stronger gun laws, then why is crime so much less in SOURCE areas? For those who think of gun crime as a disease, an infection only comes from a highly infectious primary patient! So, for instance, in gang-infested areas like Philadelphia, we often see shootings spill beyond the borders of the “hot zone.” What you’re claiming is that the “hot zone” is caused by surrounding “cool zones.” This is completely illogical.

            Defensive gun uses happen for FAR more reasons than two armed individuals! Many are what is known as “disparity of force.” So, for instance, a senior citizen defending against two muscular 20-something intruders, even if they’re unarmed, will not be charged. The same for a small woman when threatened by a much larger, stronger man. You said that “most” DGUs involve two armed people and you may be right. Yet if we were to pass laws against legal gun ownership, then only one side of this equation would be affected! The balance of power would then shift to criminals who would never surrender their weapons. Grandma would be defenseless. So would women. Point of fact: Australia, since it’s much often cited gun ban, leads the world in rape.

            Once again, here’s the claim that Lott and Kleck (and, by the way, they’re not the ONLY researchers who have made the same case) aren’t taken seriously or “have been discredited” is propaganda unsupported by fact. There has only been ONE actual study that has arrived at opposing conclusions, and is too new to have been extensively peer reviewed as of yet. ALL the rest are mostly opinion pieces that take issue with various figures or methods used. If you know anything about economics (which is the approach taken), you also know that this happens to ANY study! This is science in operation: detractors appear vigorously trying to “punch holes” in any given study. Others try to replicate results. THIS is where it gets interesting! When looking over all of these other studies, not ONE I found said that guns were a detriment, ONLY that Lott’s numbers were off. Last January, a Utah University study seemed to show that while there was no detriment, there was zero benefit. For some reason, however, that study has been taken down and I’ve been unable to find it elsewhere.

            So there is certainly much to debate about as far as how small or large the impact of CCW and gun ownership in general may be, but given the across-the-board positive results, the new study is immediately suspect as a statistical flier. Yet I hesitate to dismiss it outright, to be fair, because it is also the most recent, and things may well have changed.

            Responsiblity for crime rests on CRIMINALS. To say that law abiding gun owners/collectors/gun rights proponents are responsible is to say that NASCAR fans are responsible for all speeding deaths; wine connoisseurs are responsible for drunk driving deaths and photographers are responsible for child pornography. It’s an unfair and, frankly, absurd position. That I support the right of freedom of worship does not mean that I condone the activities of the KKK or Fred Phelps’ Westboro “god hates fags” protests. There’s a clear gap here.

            And there’s a clear gap between traditional American “gun culture” and gang/crime culture. You may be surprised by how much in-common those who abhor violent crime and school shootings have with those who count themselves as People of the Gun! NRA members are parents and grandparents, too, and want safe streets for their children. Where we differ is on how we address the common problem of violent crime, armed or not. Gun rights don’t enable gun crime any moreso than free speech rights enable plagiarism, slander and libel. It is how we USE (and misuse) those rights that is of primary importance!

            Note that the Times article quotes Metcalf from other souces; he did NOT grant them an interview. In his blog, he’s stated that the anti-gun media has been absolutely salivating at the thought of his having “turned” against a pro-gun rights position. He firmly asserts that he has not. He further pointed out that the title of his column was not written by him, but by his editor, and set a bad tone before anyone ever read what he was trying to say. I’m a Metcalf fan, myself, and while I take issue with a couple of points in his article, I understand his dilemma. Jeff Korwin, a huge gun book publisher, panned my book because I refused to take part in the character assassination by the right of Trayvon Martin. I’m of the belief that the “orthodoxy” isn’t in gun culture, per se, but from the same Kool-Aid pitcher as current extreme right wing ideology, which has painted people like Karl Rove and John Boehner as “too soft” and “RINOs.”

            I, for one, think that dialogue is not only possible, but necessary if we’re ever going to make any progress toward the reduction of violent crime. But it will never happen if we take an “us vs. them” attitude. I don’t think you’re a bad guy for being upset by mass shootings and gun crime, but I don’t think that Wayne LaPierre is a bad guy because he doesn’t see stripping rights away from the innocent as a good way to fight crime. Absolutism, hostility and misunderstanding are the true roadblocks.

          • justthefacts

            Register guns and someone who claims it was stolen should absolutely report it. But if that same person claims his guns have been stolen repeatedly, then guess what? He’s probably selling them illegally, and law enforcement will then have the tools to stop him. It’s not stolen guns but sold guns that arm criminals. And those who sell them should be held accountable. That will seriously inhibit the ability of criminals to obtain guns. This solution is really quite easy.

            I suppose you are also willing to say that there’s a correlation between rising gun ownership and rising crime since that was the case through the 1990s. If you’re willing to say one, then say the other. That’s all. But anyway it’s an absurd argument.

            I would gladly trade the violence rates in the UK for what we have in the US. I’m really not sure what you’re saying here.

            We may agree that there are many cultural factors involved in violence. But the difference is that Americans have access to lethal weapons that, once the trigger is pulled, typically lead to death or serious injury. More than any other weapon.

            By the way, John Lott is the author of the Chicago study you cite, and Gary Kleck is acknowledged. I guess you can prove Lott and Kleck by saying that Lott and Kleck support what they say. Do as you may. The other study is one I’ll examine when I can gain access to it. But even from the abstract it seems to share a flaw in your own thinking: when we live in a Wild West and anyone can buy a gun and sell it and bring it into any jurisdiction, then saying there is a causal relationships between local gun laws and gun crimes is a bit like saying that there is a causal relationship between state environmental laws and climate change. The point is that our gun culture cannot be sliced and diced depending on jurisdictions. It’s a national problem and we have to deal with it. And as a footnote, to say that the source of guns, such as Virginia, has a lower crime rate than the destination is not an argument. It’s yet another correlation that is meaningless. DC and NY are population dense areas and will surely have higher rates than a state with a significant rural population. In urban areas of Virginia, however, there is more crime. This is just meaningless prattle. The problem is nationwide but exacerbated by states that have libertine gun laws (or non-laws).

            Responsibility for crime does rest with criminals. But as the previous commenter pointed out, you have a very stereotypical image of crime. The guy who used to be law abiding is not a criminal until he shoots someone in an argument. And this isn’t just about stereotypical crime. It’s about gun violence and lethality. There are countless cases of people getting killed by guns. Just read the newspaper every day. And it has nothing to do with gangs and inner cities. I suppose the gun crowd prefers to see gun violence as only an inner city thing as a way to exonerate their responsibility for the Wild West gun society we have. Before we had so many guns everywhere there was crime, and there was also inner city crime. But lethal violence was simply far, far less common, both in inner cities and among the population as a whole. Guns didn’t create dysfunction, but they made dysfunction almost uniformly fatal and lethal. To deny that is to live in a fantasy world.

            I know you won’t like this, but I don’t see a right to guns — to me, the Second Amendment has to do with militias. But it’s pointless to argue that. To me, we have lots of guns. So the question is how to manage it so that fewer people lose their lives — and I just don’t mean gangs and inner city stuff … rather the family that gets killed by a guy renting from them, or the argument that ends up in someone dead.

            I do believe there are many gun owners who are sick from the lethal consequences of these weapons. But we’ve tried a libertine approach these last few decades, and as the previous commenter notes, about one million Americans have died from gun violence — and a large percentage of them not from your stereotypical urban violence which seems the only issue you want to address. So we need another approach. One that accepts the reality of all these millions of guns but creates disincentives for unregulated sales and public use. If people had guns at home and used them defensively (hopefully they would never have to), and if they used them at ranges, and if that was the extent of it … and if guns were registered so that anyone selling one to a criminal would face the music … then perhaps we might have some peace on this issue. But when people feel a need to carry them around (I won’t get into the psychology here, and trust me, I’m not talking about physiology), and when there are effectively no restrictions or records on sales and distribution, then we end up with proliferation and danger and death.

            And by the way, that scenario says nothing about “stripping rights away.” It just says that every right comes with a degree of regulation, just as Metcalf said. And Metcalf — no one will mistake him for a Brady fan. But that’s not the issue. The issue is the absolutist intolerance for any viewpoint other than the NRA sanctioned one. It’s funny that people who proclaim one right have very little tolerance for those who exercise another.

          • djstucrew

            Serious gun traffickers — those who move large numbers of guns through/to illegal channels — seldom buy them from the local gun store. They circumvent any traditional registration process. Smaller traffickers look for clues to who owns guns and where they live and then break into their homes when they’re gone. We saw this recently when an anti-gun newspaper decided to print the names and addresses of every concealed carry permit holder; several of their homes were broken into in the days immediately following publication. Their guns were registered. It did nothing. The guns used at Sandy Hook was properly registered. Same result.

            Check the stats: you’re now safer in New York than in London. Assaults are up. I mentioned the whole pointy knives thing to show the absurdity of going after the tool when the crime is what’s important. For instance, Japan has a high suicide rate — higher than ours — yet has virtually no guns. It’s not about the weapon. It never has been.

            Complaints about “access to guns” is both a false corrolary and a non-sequitur; if you own something, you have access to it. It does not automatically follow that you’re a killer. Access to nail guns doesn’t follow that you’re going to go out and build a dozen houses either. A home builder and a guy repairing his deck might choose the same tool, but there the similarity ends. I’ve carried a gun daily for well over a dozen years now. During that time I’ve been in numerous arguments; I’ve been in a minor traffic accident; I’ve taken a slap; I’ve taken insults, and never ONCE did it occur to me to shoot anybody. Given the number of gun owners in the US, it’s obvious I’m typical in this.

            Yes, Kleck did another study; we were talking about it previously. Didn’t mean to say they were the same study. People lump them together because they pretty much confirm each other’s findings.

            Like it or not, the 2nd Amendment IS an individual right to keep and bear arms; it was true throughout every court case of the 19th Century and, Miller aside, was confirmed by the Heller case (and by Emerson in a lower court ruling). It is indeed about militia, the definition being “all armed citizens.” (Does anyone seriously think we need an amendment to say that the ARMY can be armed?) It has both personal and governmental interests both intertwined. My state constitution’s equivalent reads: “Every person has the right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself and the state.” Much more clear and unambiguous, and several states mirror this. (I listed them all in my book as well.) Today, we are FAR from the “wild west.” For one thing, we have active police just about everywhere, so there is no “frontier justice” required, even in those much talked about “rural areas.” Shootings are down to a record low, even though most Americans think they’ve increased.
            http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/07/gun-crime-drops-but-americans-think-its-worse/2139421/

            No, “gun culture” is pervasive. But where is the most trouble? And what does it correlate with? Recently I saw a program showing pinpoint map of the US. Red dots represented the most active areas for gangs, drug dealing/trafficking and crime. Next, another pinpoint map was overlaid, showing red dots for every shooting that happend during the year. Predictably (to me), it didn’t correspond as much to “red/blue” as much as it did to crime! Big red blotches overlaid the black ones in a near perfect 1:1 ratio. So yes, while there may indeed by accidents and escallated arguments among regular, law abiding gun owners, the vast majority of all shootings are criminal in nature. Most center around large population centers (Philly, LA, Compton, Detroit, Chicago, New York, DC). If anyone is going to make a serious dent in “gun crime,” then that needs to be the primary focus. I’ll agree with your “meaningless prattle” assessment when DC accused VA of flooding their city with guns during their ban, since VA has very low crime and guns come from NO legal sources in DC since there is not one legal dealer and EVERY gun is in criminal hands! What’s wrong with this picture? (Hint: 100% of guns in criminal hands in DC, most guns in legal hands in VA.)

            There was never a time when guns weren’t fairly pervasive here in the States. In fact, some surveys say ownership was even higher back in the 50s and 60s. Again, the focus is wrong; it’s not the guns, it’s the GANGS. There were fewer of them, and those that existed were far less prone to violence. Indeed, guns are lethal. They’re SUPPOSED to be. If not, they’d be a crappy weapon! Yet they’re not always fatal. Over 80% of those having been shot survived the experience. Legal CCWs are not taught to “shoot to kill.” Killing is NEVER the objective. The goal is to stop a violent attack. For police or citizens, once the attack has stopped, you can no longer legally take a shot. In fact, you also have a duty to call police and an ambulance. I might also render aid, if possible.

            In a free society you can never have 100% safety. It’s impossible. If we’re going to allow people to use alcohol, we are going to tolerate a certain amount of drunk driving, drunk fights/assaults and addiction. We accept a huge number of fatalities to allow people the freedom of mobility using cars and trucks. (And those aren’t even designed to cause harm!) The death toll outpaces guns by far. (And yes, I’m aware of the exceptions that appeared only last year, but there’s a ton of problems with those cooked number which I’ll skip for the time being.)

            You say “we need another approach,” yet the current one has shown a 49% drop in violent crime over the past 20 years! While I wouldn’t say we should make no effort to improve — faster would be better — I’m saying that the problem isn’t as urgent as it was when the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban was enacted in 1994! Also, many of the proposals were tried before; registration, magazine capacity limits, waiting periods and on and on, and not one of them had any measurable impact on violent crime. But what did?

            I relate the story in my book of two cities, both of the same general size, population, economic status and other ways. Both with very similar crime rates. One had very strict bans on most weapons, and tough laws for the few permitted. The other took a different approach: they required the head of each household to be armed. Of course, they did it in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner, providing an “opt out” for those with religous or conscientious objections to it, but the massive publicity was inescapable. The news was buzzing and the town actually became a media laughing stock! That is, until a few years later, when somebody decided to track the instances of crime in both cities. The one with the strict gun laws saw a slight increase, despite an overall decline in the rest of the country. The state requiring gun ownership saw a STUNNING drop in their crime rates! Apparently criminals got the message and headed off to safer working environments!

            This was borne out later in two different polls of prison inmates, who reported fearing armed citizens more than police.

            By the way, even in states with no training requirements to CCW (carry concealed weapons), the behavior of those who do is exemplary. We do require permits in Michigan, and every year there’s a report on CCW. Statistically, you’re much safer among permit holders than the general population. (And, in fact, safer than among police!) This makes sense; to get a permit, one needs to have a clean record, pass an extensive FBI background check (not to be confused with the “instant” check run when buying a gun) and take several hours of training. Bad guys don’t bother with all of that. Yet hoplophobes and gun banners get creeped out by legal CCWs — the last people they should worry about — rather than realizing that even if they could somehow eliminate them, they’d STILL be surrounded by people with guns! Just not GOOD people with guns. THAT is why CCW is needed and “to bear” is in the Constitution! You need a gun where you need it. Spiders wait for flies. Sometimes criminals wait for their victims. (Remember: gangs are all about “turf.”)

            Oh, I’m a fan of Dick Metcalf! I’ve been reading his articles all my life. I’ve defended him on TTAG (The Truth About Guns). But you mistake what he meant: he’s not a FAN of restrictions. He was being pragmatic, saying that there are restrictions, they aren’t going to go away and we need to be smart about which we consider “infringements” and what are logical, reasonable conditions. Absolutists are never “reasonable,” and I don’t like them from either side. I can tell you the single points I disagreed with him on, but I overall agree: every right comes with responsibility, as I said before. Now, you can’t stop a person through legislation from using their free speech to slander someone. But you CAN create a penalty that makes it unthinkable. You also cannot stop a determined person from committing mass murder! (Timothy McVeigh killed more people than Cho at Virginia Tech or Lanza at Sandy Hook, using NO guns and nothing requiring regulation! Anyone with a credit card and access to a hardware store has access to WMD. Can you say “Boston Marathon?”) But the penalties are severe, and lucky for us, they keep most sane people from killing with abandon.

            Two facts remain insurmountable: guns prevent more deaths than they cause, and you cannot stop crime by disarming the innocent. Gangs and criminals won’t register their guns, ever. They won’t store them at a shooting range, ever. (Lucky for police and the rest of us, they don’t practice much anyway.) Anyone who thinks they will are the ones living in a fantasy world.

          • justthefacts

            Thanks for bringing up London and New York, but I’m afraid this example reveals far more than you would like. First, New York. It now is one of the safest cities in the country, with historically low violent crime and murder rates. But wait. That can’t be because lots of New Yorkers have guns. They don’t. Not only because of your reviled Mayor Bloomberg but simply because of tough gun laws all around. Permits for concealed carry are difficult to get, making it rare (it is “may issue” in New York State and extremely tough in the city); guns must be registered; and both the state and city have among the strictest handgun licensing requirements in the country. So let’s hear it for the tough gun laws that have put a hold on crime, yes? I don’t hear your champagne corks popping!

            But even with its strict gun laws, there are far more guns in NYC because of all the trafficking from states like Virginia. Which allows me to segue into London. You are correct: there are more assaults and robberies in London than in NY. But according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which compared homicide rates for the major cities around the world, New York has 5.6 homicides per 100,000 people versus 1.6 for London. So someone in NY is three times more likely to be murdered than someone in London. The reason: guns, which as I’ve said repeatedly here and everyone knows, are more lethal. So an assault with a knife in London is bad, yes. But someone has a far better chance of surviving it than someone in NY or anywhere else in this country. It’s the weapon that makes the difference. Crime is indeed the problem in both countries. But because of the proliferation of guns, it’s compounded, worsened, and sadly too often irreversible in terms of lives lost in the United States. And that doesn’t count all the lives lost to guns when not counting traditional crimes.

            On how criminals get guns, the National Institute of Justice studied those recently arrested, and here’s what it found when asking how they obtained their most recent handgun: 56% said they paid cash, 15% said it was a gift, 10% said they borrowed it, 8% said they traded for it, and only 5% said they stole it. Other studies bear this out: the illegal market is the most likely source for criminals to obtain guns. Yes, there are straw man purchases that exploit loopholes. But corrupt FFLs (Federal Firearms Licensees) are a major source as well. According to ATF officials in a PBS documentary, 8% of the retail gun dealers sell the majority of guns that are used in crimes. If we had tight restrictions on the transfer and sale of handguns, and full registration, then you would still get yours, but there would be significant barriers and disincentives to this illegal trade in guns. People would be held accountable.

            Now on stolen guns, yes, that happens, no question. But it also says a lot about the people whose guns were stolen. They were clearly not locked in safes or other secure places. And that’s one reason why there are so many gun “accidents” that take place. These are not the wholly responsible gun owners in your imagination. And in their own way they contribute to the problem.

            You are clearly an upstanding guy, and if people had to have guns in the U.S., I would prefer them all to be like you — passionate about ideas but levelheaded and clearly responsible. Thank you. But you are an advocate, not a scholar. That’s okay. I admire your energy. Call yourself an umpire if you wish, but since you call all the balls and strikes in a way that favors the home team, in the long run you’re merely a fan. I’m okay with that. But as my handle says, I prefer just the facts.

            I have to return to my real life, but best of luck to you. And by the way, if you want less worry about crime, here’s a suggestion: move to NY!

          • djstucrew

            Your information on New York if faulty; it recently handed its crown for most murders to Chicago. Concealed carry permit holders traditionally have an exemplary record of behavior — even better with their guns than police — so any reference to the low amount of permit holders in NY or NYC is irrelevant; the crime wouldn’t be any higher if national trends held sway and, in fact, their presence could well reduce crime. (Yet another study was just released confirming that legal CCW seems to have a direct correlation with lower crime.)

            First, homicide rates have never been anywhere NEAR each other RE: London/New York. Even before the British begain imposing any gun control laws, per-capita gun ownership was miniscule compared to that of the U.S. This makes any real comparisons difficult aside from trands unique to each, which was my point: violent crime here has gone down while it has skyrocketed there. Your “cause guns” assumption seems to fly in the face of your previous statement of all of Bloomberg’s wonderful gun controls! “Cause guns” is unsupported by any real data, and I’m inclined to think that other social issues might be in play — an hypothesis equally well-supported. :)

            Don’t you think of those who said they “paid cash” MAY have done so to a thief? Also, when surveying criminals, might a thief refer to a weapon he took from someone he knows as “barrowing?” Of the 8% who “traded” for a gun, might that trade been for drugs… with another criminal? See, the working theory of the gun control fans is that all guns begin life legally, but this is a non-sequitur. While people still sometimes churn out a zip gun in their garage, and 3-D printing, while today only a hand-wringer’s panic dream, will soon become a factor, it goes without saying that all guns start out legally. Yet they get diverted at many different points along the supply chain. Shipments get stolen between factory and dealers; dealer’s inventory can “disappear,” thieves SAY that whey they break into homes, they’re looking for cash and guns; weapons have disappeared from police evidence lockers and arsenals; the FBI seems to routinely “misplace” machine guns; military arsenals have a portion of their guns go missing annually; even guns bought in “buy backs” get diverted from those headed for the smelters. When organized crime gets involved, and even street-level crime, stolen guns are by far the norm. Straw purchases DO happen, and the firearms industry launched a campaign against it using two vectors: a public ourteach called “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy,” reminding people of the severe penalties of doing so, and they also teach gun store employees how to spot telltale signs of people making straw purchases. But these techniques are a bit like spotting shoplifters, and don’t always apply. People can be fooled, and there’s no real way to prevent this 100%.

            While I won’t quibble with the 8% number of bad dealers, I don’t see PBS documentaries as very authoritative! In fact, I detailed several such documentaries in my book, and most are completely biased hit pieces. (But not all, to be fair.) In any case, “full registration” is already a reality with handguns. Fake or stolen IDs and identity theft complicate things, and again, all the buyers have to do is claim the guns were stolen. If it’s one gun or 100, nobody gets convicted on suspicion.

            Given that there are less than 1,000 gun accidents every year, yet there are more than 300 million guns in circulation, I’d say the vast majority of gun owners ARE quite responsible. They own safes and use trigger locks. Whenever I see a story on a child “finding daddy’s gun” or similar, I look at the details: what was the neighborhood like? Who are the parents and what do they do? Do they have a criminal record? While you will indeed find the occasional gun owner who forgot to put away the “nightstand” gun, I most often note that the most careless of gun owners have no business owning them anyway. The little boy who shot a female classmate in Flint, Michigan was staying at a relative’s house, whose owner was involved in drug dealing. Not only don’t these accidents usually happen in the homes of CCW permit holders, but even regular ol’ card-carrying NRA members are rarely represented. All too often, police, however, are among the “accident” statistics. So what’s a magical way to predict who will be responsible and who will not be? And given the low accident rate to begin with vs. the number of lives SAVED by guns in the hands of citizens, I find this argument facetious.

            Indeed, I’m not a scholar, and I say so in the introduction to my book. Yet my own research could be said to be “scholarly,” as I followed standard journalistic practices and documented all of my sources. My advocacy is not for an ideology, but for the facts surrounding the various controversies. An “umpire” is too passive; a watcher or a judge. I’m a participant, currently training to be a certified firearms instructor. So while I’ve never been a cop or soldier (pitcher or baseman), my experience and training might be more akin to a shortstop in your analogy. Your implication that I favor “the home team” implies bias. Indeed, all humans have bias, but my own outlook is wholly dependent upon the facts; the bias I had as a child was only due to the feelings of my parents. The bias I have as an adult is an INFORMED bias, because I’ve been convinced by the data, in the exact same way as I’ve been convinced that climate change is actually taking place and that evolution is a fact. While I truly appreciate your kind words — I do work hard to be as responsible and upstanding as humanly possible — trying to diffuse my arguments by calling my objectivity and credentials into question is beneath your usual factually-based retorts. Or maybe I’m taking your post in a way you didn’t intend — one of my biggest gripes re: the all-text medium.

            As for worrying about crime, why should I? I’m armed to the teeth! :D

          • justthefacts

            Fact: New York has 5.1 homicides and non-negligent homicides per 100,000, the lowest of any American city with more than 1.5 million people.

            Fact: New York has some of the toughest gun laws in America.

            Fact: Robberies are three times more likely to result in deaths than when the robberies occur with other weapons or no weapons at all.

            Fact: Family violence is far more likely to be fatal when there are guns in the household.

            Fact: A large number of homicides result from unintended escalation of another crime in which firearms are present, even though there was no initial intent to kill.

            Fact: According to a 2002 American Journal of Public Health article, states and regions with higher rates of gun ownership have much higher rates of homicide than states with lower rates of gun ownership.

            Fact: According the a 2001 article in the accident analysis and prevention journal, people of all age groups are far more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries when they live in states with more guns as compared to those who live in states with fewer guns. On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of unintentional firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels.

            I am very appreciative of our dialogue here, and by saying that you have a bias — which you admit — I don’t mean anything other than stating a simple fact. I would much rather discuss with someone who prefers looking at facts than someone who simply likes spewing bromides and anger. And I respect you for your passion. But I do wonder why you are so unwilling to admit that a nation awash in guns is the cause of our high lethal violence rates. It’s pretty simple to me: we have more deaths and injuries because we have so many guns. Or to put it more simply, we wouldn’t have any gun deaths and injuries if we didn’t have a gun culture. Even if crime rises in other countries, they still don’t have anything close to the per capita rate of murder and injury we have because of the lethality of guns. That doesn’t mean we should confiscate guns — even if I wanted to, it’s just not realistic and, to people like you, not fair. But failure to deal with gun proliferation and its consequences will mean more families mourning and more brothers, sisters, children and parents killed or maimed for life.

            And allow me to quibble about a completely different topic you touch on here that is still relevant to our conversation: you don’t need to be “convinced” about evolution any more than you need to be “convinced” about gravity, and that’s because they both are facts. There are theories that explain each fact, but in science a theory is thoroughly tested, accurate, and predicted. Now apply that to our gun issue. I list facts above. There is no need to doubt them. You have listed facts as well. The issue is the why behind them, and in my opinion, the strong possibility that my interpretation is correct means that we should err on the side of regulation — and thus, as I see it, saving lives — even if it means some minor inconveniences for good guys like you. I will always be willing to pay a small price if it means fewer coffins and grieving families.

          • Stu Chisholm

            Fact: New York has 5.1 homicides and non-negligent homicides per 100,000, the lowest of any American city with more than 1.5 million people.

            Fact: New York has some of the toughest gun laws in America.

            >>>Fact: Correlation does not equal causation. I’m also unable to find the source of your numbers. (Most sources group big cities as 200,000 or greater.)

            Fact: Robberies are three times more likely to result in deaths than when the robberies occur with other weapons or no weapons at all.

            >>>Fact: Robbery victims who put up an armed resistance are killed less often than those who do not.

            Fact: Family violence is far more likely to be fatal when there are guns in the household.

            >>>Numbers and souce please! While I have seen some statistics on domestic violence incidents ending with fatalities when guns are involved, “far more likely” is not quantifiable. It also opens the question of which is the greater risk: a gun in the home that “may” be used in an argument or being the victim of a violent attack or rape while disarmed?

            Fact: A large number of homicides result from unintended escalation of another crime in which firearms are present, even though there was no initial intent to kill.

            >>>Ditto: no numbers? “A large number” is again vague, unspecific and highly debatable. If an armed criminal is confronted in the commission of a crime, shots will be fired in more than 50% of all cases (I forget the precise number) regardless of whether the person confronting them is armed or not.

            Fact: According to a 2002 American Journal of Public Health article, states and regions with higher rates of gun ownership have much higher rates of homicide than states with lower rates of gun ownership.

            >>>Fact: Those same areas tend to correspond with much higher numbers of gangs, street criminals, prostitution and drug dealing. The simple presence of guns has never been shown to be more hazardous, and, in fact, have been correlated to lower crime.

            Fact: According the a 2001 article in the accident analysis and prevention journal, people of all age groups are far more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries when they live in states with more guns as compared to those who live in states with fewer guns. On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of unintentional firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels.

            >>>A virtual repeat of the above: those same areas tend to have extremely high numbers of gangs, drug houses and other crime. Chicago, a bastion of gun control until just recently, became the murder capital of the U.S.

            I am very appreciative of our dialogue here, and by saying that you have a bias — which you admit — I don’t mean anything other than stating a simple fact. I would much rather discuss with someone who prefers looking at facts than someone who simply likes spewing bromides and anger.

            >>>I harbor no hostility or anger. If you see that in my posts, then you’re mistaken. My “bias” was formed by facts. I go where the facts lead.

            And I respect you for your passion. But I do wonder why you are so unwilling to admit that a nation awash in guns is the cause of our high lethal violence rates.

            >>>Because it flies in the face of another fact: that gun sales have set new records since 9/11/01, the overall amount increasing by roughly 1/3rd. Yet over the past two decades, violent crime, including “gun crime,” has fallen by nearly half (49%). This shatters the “guns cause crime” myth.

            It’s pretty simple to me: we have more deaths and injuries because we have so many guns.

            >>>Which, of course, we don’t. We’re not the murder capital of the world even though we do indeed have the most heavily armed population.

            Or to put it more simply, we wouldn’t have any gun deaths and injuries if we didn’t have a gun culture.

            >>>FALSE! Traditional American “gun culture” isn’t a group of killers, or a cheering section for them. There is a HUGE gulf between “gun culture” and “gang/criminal culture.” We imprison more of our population than any other country. This could be interpreted as showing that we have more CRIME than any other country. In any case, since we’re chock full of criminals, it makes good sense to be prepared to deal with them.

            Even if crime rises in other countries, they still don’t have anything close to the per capita rate of murder and injury we have because of the lethality of guns.

            >>>Again incorrect. We do not have the highest per-capita murder rate world-wide and we don’t even rank #1 for “gun crime.” We don’t lead the world in suicide either.

            That doesn’t mean we should confiscate guns — even if I wanted to, it’s just not realistic and, to people like you, not fair.

            >>>Ah, something we agree on!

            But failure to deal with gun proliferation and its consequences will mean more families mourning and more brothers, sisters, children and parents killed or maimed for life.

            >>> https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-emotion
            You have far greater risks from many other things than you do of being shot. If we want to quell mourning, we should ban swimming pools, which statistically claim far more children than guns. Again, statistics prove you wrong; homicide has dropped while gun proliferation has increased. Our failure is to deal with the social makeup of a segment of the population that thinks that murder is a way to settle disputes. If we don’t end the deadly “war on drugs” and adopt a zero tolerance towards gangs — disband them completely — we may see the end of the lowering of violent crime.

            And allow me to quibble about a completely different topic you touch on here that is still relevant to our conversation: you don’t need to be “convinced” about evolution any more than you need to be “convinced” about gravity, and that’s because they both are facts.

            >>>You’re right: it’s a quibble. As any scientist would be, I remain skeptical until adequate proof of an assertion can be shown. Indeed, facts are always facts. We just need to know them, and sometimes divine the actual facts from the disinformation swirling around us. (You’re talking to an atheist, so I have some experience along these lines.) :)

            There are theories that explain each fact, but in science a theory is thoroughly tested, accurate, and predicted.

            >>>That’s not exactly precise; a theory is our understanding of how we think something works. Such theories allow us to make predictions. But I get your drift.

            Now apply that to our gun issue. I list facts above. There is no need to doubt them.

            >>>I doubt you’d accept “take my word for it” from me, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t take yours without adequate sources and independent verification. (Although for the sake of argument, I don’t quibble every little detail.)

            You have listed facts as well. The issue is the why behind them, and in my opinion, the strong possibility that my interpretation is correct means that we should err on the side of regulation — and thus, as I see it, saving lives — even if it means some minor inconveniences for good guys like you.

            >>>Of course, I would correct you by saying that it’s a “weak possibility” that your interpretation is correct because, numbers aside, your basic premise is oftimes flawed. Plus, none of your facts then give any clear picture of exactly what specific regulations might impact the root causes of violent crime. Lastly, denying a basic human right, especially given that such denial could make people vulnerable and even cost lives, is hardly a “minor inconvenience.” Don’t forget that it’s life and death we’re talking about here.

            I will always be will ing to pay a small price if it means fewer coffins and grieving families.

            >>>I might even be willing to pay a large one! But I demand efficacy. I will not stand for political theater in lieu of effective actions. Given our mutual love of facts, I insist that we employ all of the empirical data we’ve collected on the efficacy of various proposed gun controls and mercilessly dismiss those that fail. The data show that, during the Clinton era “assault weapons ban,” no demonstrable correlation to the decline in crime was observed given that the decline maintained the exact trajectory measured before the ban went into affect. Further, the reduction in ammunition capacity had “no measurable impact” on the number of people killed or injured in an average shooting incident. (This according to the Clinton Justice Department.)

            >>>The only gun control measure I’ve observed that was truly effective was the implementation of NICS. It replaed the problematic waiting period, where some victims ended up losing their lives while waiting for the government to grant them their self-defense rights, with an immediate go/no go for gun purchasers. While there is some controversy over the results, it is undeniable that a large amount of convicted felons were denied a gun through legal channels. That’s why I support extending background checks and making them truly universal. Let’s double-down on what works.

            >>>I’m also not against a fully staffed ATF and better oversight of legal dealers, given that a small number of them disproportionally supply some of the guns found at crime scenes. (I do have some problems with many claims on this, but like you, there are many areas of consensus and erring on the side of caution here doesn’t infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights. I think we have plenty of common ground, as I, and most sane, rational members of the “gun culture” hate crime and murder. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, we just refuse to sacrifice our basic liberties in order to obtain a little imagined safety.

          • justthefacts

            I actually think we agree on some ideas and initiatives, which is good — even if we don’t agree on principles, causes, context and even correlation (I apologize here because I was actually baiting you with the NY correlation because I knew that you would critique it and then raise your own correlation about lower crime as if it were causation … I just wanted to see if you would catch yourself there).

            But when a man — a former cop — shoots a parent for texting during movie previews, when another man walks into an Indiana grocery store and mows down two women, when another man kills people he used to live with for whatever reason, when I can offer multiple examples of these gun deaths daily, and when people grieve because of the proliferation of guns that formerly law abiding citizens are able to take anywhere because of loose gun laws, then it is a gun problem that we have, not a crime or gang problem. You cannot interpret these gun deaths in any other way. A former police officer who gets ticked off and takes someone’s life — is this dad just collateral damage for the ability of almost anyone to walk around armed? How many more people must be sacrificed for this “right”? You may never do anything like this, but my guess is that the former cop probably felt the same — and all it took was one peevish moment and a child has lost a father because this former cop had the ability to take another person’s life. No one can connect gangs or hard core criminals to these actions. They are simply people who have lethal firepower at their disposal whenever they want, and even if most people never use it, I really would prefer not to be around anyone who might, in a moment of weakness, use it the wrong way. Because there is no turning back.

            Those deaths are the most potent facts I can cite. They are senseless deaths and losses caused by only one factor: the availability, proliferation, and accessibility of guns.

            And by the way, do check the definition of a scientific theory. You will find that you don’t have it quite right.

            One of these days, when I have the time, I will source all of my facts above. But they are indeed facts. Why else would my handle be “justthefacts”? … ;)

          • djstucrew

            P.S.
            It’s been a big news day on the gun control front! First, a new study indicates lower crime where concealed carry is enacted. The “pop synopsis” is here:
            http://www.newsmax.com/US/concealed-weapons-murder-rates/2014/01/02/id/544949
            and the actual study can be had here (for a fee, of course):
            http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504851.2013.854294?journalCode=rael20#tabModule

            Also, the Law School at the University of Chicago has released a new paper on Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry
            Concealed Handguns, available online at:
            http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/41.lott_.final_.pdf

            Some good information in both!

  • John K. Herr

    not racist so much as trite. The only people I ever read or hear talking about the “decline of the white male” are liberals. And they’re usually white males. Funny that!

    • professorpublius

      Then you must not read or hear much beyond your own conservative echo chamber. Perhaps you should take a look at Kevin Phillips’ The Emerging Republican Majority, and then read Richard Nixon’s silent majority speeches, both of which articulated the early grievances of white Americans and especially white men. There were some other books written back then, including Scammon & Wattenberg’s The Real Majority, which laid out this thesis, and in the years since countless social scientists and political historians have been examining this issue. There were Reagan Democrats, NASCAR dad, and various other categories that both scholars, public opinion researchers and journalists have used to speak about whites and white men in particular. So as Daniel Moynihan once said, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. Please, when you write such trifling comments, it would be great to engage at the level of content than feeling.

      • John K. Herr

        thanks for the syllabus, professor! Been hearing/reading about Kevin Phillips since I was in knee pants. (What are knee pants, anyway?) The South didn’t turn Republican until well after the Carter failures and Reagan revolution, which was about restoring America’s greatness in the world, not restoring white man’s place in the culture. The GOP had only 16 governorships even after the 1984 Reagan landslide, including a minority in the South, and didn’t win the House until 1994. If you want to talk race, the Civil Rights Act (passed by a majority of Republican senators over Southern Democrat opposition you may recall) and Nixon’s law and order campaign didn’t move the needle as much as permissiveness generally and affirmative action and busing (in the north) specifically. By the way, Chris Christie is a white man and conservative Republican, last I checked. Look up his election numbers by race and ethnic group, since that’s how you like to slice up the world.

        • professorpublius

          The point was that the plight of white men has been an issue long discussed in politics, history, and journalism. And those who crafted the original strategy to appeal to white grievances were … conservatives. So review your history before you pontificate. That’s all. And I have no clue what you’re saying with Chris Christie. In NJ, the Democrats barely put up a candidate, and the NJ electorate in November was such a small and trivial slice of the overall group of eligible voters that no one can with any credibility draw conclusions from it … unless you want conclusions and not analysis. I guess that’s the problem with politics today. Lots of opinions, not very much knowledge.

  • @playbyplayman

    I look forward to your next piece when you analyze black men and guns. Yes, that was sarcasm.

  • Charles

    I’m from the UK where most guns are substantively banned.

    This is a classic ‘thin-end-of-the-wedge’ slippery-slope issue (see my recent article here at PunditWire) where rival good principles collide head-on and there is no obviously a priori principled place to park a good policy. If every household had at least one gun, large numbers of people would die in ghastly gun-accidents. Safety! If no households had guns, armed criminals would have a field-day: why should politicians be defended by guns and not ordinary folk, etc?. Freedom!

    So the debate ends up dealing in huge battles over tiny details. The no-gun tendency has no hope of a knock-out blow, so it wants to get rid of guns inch by inch. The pro-gun tendency therefore defends every inch. Result? Incoherent deadlock and rancour (as we Brits spell such things).

    My view? I err in favour of allowing people to have certain categories of guns if they want them (I live in a remote house and have no other way to defend myself and my family if robbers attack it in the night) subject to some reasonable official checks.

    Plus Russia defeating the Ukrainian army is one thing. Russia conquering a Ukraine where millions of citizens have guns and can fight back is quite another (see Switzerland).

    • Stu Chisholm

      Yours is a rare and rational view among those of your region. The only issue I take with your analysis is that, despite what some in the media might have you believe, nearly half of all American homes do have at least one gun, yet “ghastly gun accidents” are fairly rare. (Those that do happen are camped on endlessly by our 24/7 “if it bleeds, it leads” news machine.)

      Indeed, there have been some interesting statistics as of late. Over the past 20 years or so, our rate of violent crime (which includes crimes with firearms) has fallen by a full 50%. Over the same time period, the number of guns in circulation went from appx. 180M to 300M, or just over a 1/3rd increase. Those who equate more guns with more death, then, are hard-pressed to explain this trend.

      Then there’s the problem of “reasonable official checks.” Who decides what “category” of guns someone should have? This is the very thinking that those who “chip away” at our rights employ! And who decides what sort of hoops a free citizen must jump through to satisfy their “checks?” Like most of my NRA brethren, I have no problem with criminal background checks, since the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. But how are we going to force criminals to comply? You must admit that the occasional shooting still happens even in the UK, and when they do, the guns are usually in criminal hands. Disarming the innocent is never a good strategy.

      I’m a pragmatist. Since perfection is unattainable — anything that people have, rights included, WILL be abused and misused by someone somewhere — we must then rely on basic cost-to-benefit analysis. Even through the political noise here in the States, the number of lives saved as opposed to those lost by “gun violence” is anywhere between 18 and 80 to one. (NO study shows a negative CtB.) So while any innocent dying by gunfire is a tragedy, and there is indeed more we can do to stop them, we cannot ignore such a huge number of innocent lives being saved each and every day. I can’t help but wonder how many have been victimized in the UK as a result of Dunblane and the ban.